Smoke is over shadowing the
last few weeks of summer in the
Similkameen and many other parts
of the province.
Starting Saturday afternoon
some residents were choked out
from favourite warm weather activities
like walking, biking or even
sitting in their backyards, as strong
north west winds pushed smoked
through the valley.
The smoke is mainly coming
from large wildfires in Washington.
Most notably, the aggressive Stick
Pin fire has grown to in excess of
190-square kilometres. The fire is
less than four-and-a-half kilometres
from the border.
BC wildfire crews have been
sent to help out the province’s
Washington counterparts to help
contain the fire.
The smoke haze that will last
until the wind direction changes
has stopped tourists and locals from
seeing valley views.
Into Tuesday all that could
be seen of area mountains were
outlines. The famous ‘K’ on K
Mountain could not be seen at all.
Environment Canada and the
B.C. Ministry of Environment
have issued air quality advisories
for South Okanagan, including
the Similkameen, the Central
Okanagan and the North Okanagan.
Sue Pollock, medical health officer
for Interior Health said at this
time of year smoky skies are to
be expected but there are things
residents can do to help themselves
Some people may experience
symptoms as insignificant as runny
noses, scratchy throats and mild
headaches while others may experience
more serious symptoms
including shortness of breath, chest
Closing and locking all windows
and doors and running an air
conditioner with clean filters can
help reduce the smoke particles in
“Although for most there will
be no health issues but there are
several groups at high risk from the
effects of wildfire smoke.”
People with chronic heart and
lung conditions including Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,
asthma and congestive heart failure
are cautioned to reduce activities
outdoors when the skies are hazy
Younger children and older
adults are also sometimes at risk.
“Other groups that are higher
risk people are very active people
who work outdoors or are outdoors
for significant amounts of time.
They are exposed to the smoke the
air the longest. Obviously when
you are indoors there is less exposure,”
Those experiencing more severe
symptoms should immediately go
to the hospital and if there is any
difficulty in breathing should call
Pollock recommend everyone
participate in cool activities.
“Usually when we’re seeing
smoke in the air, we’re also experiencing
warm temperatures. Head
to the mall so you can be in the air
conditioning. Go to the movies. Go
do something indoors where you
can get a reprieve from the heat.”
For information about air quality
throughout the province visit www.