Smoke originating from wildfires burning outside of British Columbia is currently widespread within the Northwest Fire Centre.
There are only three wildfires burning within the Northwest Fire Centre, and they are not the primary sources of this smoke.
According to Carolyn Bartos, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre, the smoke is expected to linger in the area for several days.
A smoky skies bulletin was issued for the Houston area due to wildfire smoke on July 24.
Other regions listed in the bulletin include the South Thompson, Central Okanagan, South Okanagan, East Columbia, and all parts of province north of Quesnel. Smoke concentrations can vary widely, depending on wind activity, fire behaviour and changes in temperatures.
Those areas under the advisory are expected to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours. People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure and the government advises residents to use common sense to limit exposure to wildfire smoke.
Bartos said hot and dry conditions are forecast for the Northwest Fire Centre this week, and could lead to an increase in fire activity and the amount of smoke that is visible.
“The Northwest Fire Centre is currently experiencing elevated fire danger ratings, with high ratings in most areas and some pockets of extreme,” she said. “The public is urged to remain vigilant in the backcountry and be extremely careful with any recreational activity that could potentially spark a wildfire.”
As the wildfire season ramps up, so is the hot weather with daytime temperatures expected to reach up to 32 C in the region this week.
There are currently no fire bans in the Northwest Fire Centre.
Detecting new wildfires in smoky conditions can be challenging. Anyone who sees open flames or a distinct column of smoke should call *5555 on a cellphone or 1-800-663-5555 toll-free and provide as much detail as possible.
– With files from Angie Mindus