A special air quality statement has been issued for Golden by Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The poor air quality is expected to last at least until Wednesday night and was caused by wildfire smoke nearby.
Forecasts for the rest of the week predict rainfall until Thursday before clear skies move in and remain until next week.
While rain can offer marginal assistance in fighting wildfires, thunderstorms —such as the one expected on Wednesday— create the risk of new fires cropping up.
As of Aug. 7, the Birchlands Creek fire remains out of control —the same state it was reported to be in on July 28 when it was 13 hectares.
Now, the fire is 284 hectares large and has been burning for more than two weeks.
In addition to smoke from the Birchlands Creek fire, smoke from the Uto wildfire in Glacier National Park is suspected to have blown to the Trans-Canada Highway and as far as Golden.
According to Environment Canada’s air quality health index, which measures air quality risk on a scale of 1-10, most of the Okanagan has a low-risk score of three.
For the general population, this means the air quality is fine for outdoor activities. At-risk populations —which include older adults, children, pregnant people, and those with heart or lung disease— can continue to enjoy outdoor activities but are encouraged to monitor their breathing.