Wildfire smoke from the south lingers low over Salmon Arm’s Blackburn Park on the evening of Monday, Sept. 14, while Mount Ida in the background is completely shrouded in smoke. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm gets its own predictor of air movement over the city

Residents can now see if city likely to be blanketed in stagnant smoke

Will today be ones of those days when smoke settles over the community, or will it be a day when winds disperse the smoke, allowing the sun to shine through?

Salmon Arm now has a more accurate way to answer these kinds of questions.

Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley told city council on Sept. 14 that the provincial Ministry of Environment recently added a reading to its ventilation index that is specific to the city. (Click on the general area to the right of Kamloops.) In the past, Salmon Arm has been lumped under ‘Okanagan Valley.’

Shirley said it will provide a more accurate assessment.

The province’s smoke control forecast with its ventilation index gives people who wish to burn outdoors an indication of whether it will be permitted. The index is defined as: “a measure of atmospheric turbulence and low level winds, for 25 B.C. locations.”

Also, in times of wildfires, the index can give an indication of whether smoke will be lingering.

Coun. Kevin Flynn asked if venting in Salmon Arm and area, with its lack of winds, is worse than in the Okanagan Valley.

Shirley said it really differs. Sometimes it’s worse but it all depends on the air currents and air flow.

Coun. Tim Lavery termed the Salmon Arm venting index a huge improvement.

The index for Salmon Arm was listed as 26 and ‘poor’ for Monday, Sept. 14. A reading of 55 to 100 is considered good, 34 to 54 is fair and zero to 33 is poor.

However, things look better for Tuesday, Sept. 15, as the venting index is described as good at 57.

Read more: Air quality bulletin still in place for Okanagan

Read more: 2018 – Filmmaker captures the smoke that enveloped the Shuswap

Different from the venting index is the air quality health index. It can be found under ‘air quality data.’

Salmon Arm does not have its own listing for air quality. It sits between Kamloops and North Okanagan.

On Sept. 14, the air quality health index for North Okanagan, and many areas across B.C., was listed as 10+ or ‘very high.’

The website recommends that people restrict or reschedule any strenuous outside exercise at that rating. At 10+, people who are considered ‘at risk’ are advised to avoid strenuous activities outdoors altogether. Children and the elderly are also advised to avoid outdoor physical exertion. For Kamloops on Sept. 14, the air quality health index was listed as 9 or ‘high.’

For Sept. 15, the forecast improved a little, with Kamloops predicted to see a lower air quality health index of eight, and North Okanagan going down slightly to 10.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon Armwildfire smoke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

More wildfire smoke to fill the Okanagan

The smoke is coming from wildfires in California but is expected to be much lighter

Documentary to celebrate the Shuswap’s music scene

Local initiative to feature several of the region’s artists

Former Shuswap resident’s book describes how child’s death transforms mother’s life

Destanne Norris to hold book signings in Vernon and Salmon Arm

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Guns seized in relation to southeast Kelowna murder investigation

RCMP seized several firearms from a West Kelowna home on Tuesday

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Okanagan man accused of attacking two young boys back in court

Brian Lamb will remain behind bars until at least Oct. 14

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Most Read