Smoke above Penticton on July 19, 2021. (Brennan Phillips/ Penticton Western News)

Smoke above Penticton on July 19, 2021. (Brennan Phillips/ Penticton Western News)

Wildfire smoke continues to cause air quality issues in the Okanagan-Shuswap

There are more than 1,100 fires burning in the province

A special air quality statement is in effect right across the B.C. Interior due to wildfire smoke.

There are currently more than 1,100 fires burning in the province, with 19 new starts this week.

The entire Okanagan, Shuswap and West Columbia are impacted by wildfire smoke and will continue to be for the next 24 to 48 hours.

While smoke is present over much of the southern interior, there are variable concentrations expected over large areas.

The Central, North and South Okanagan have an Air Quality Health Index of 6, a moderate health risk.

During this time, individuals may experience increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

The Brenda Creek and Thomas Creek wildfires continue to burn out of control, with the Thomas Creek blaze in the South Okanagan at 6,558 hectares and Brenda Creek fire at 480 hectares in the Central Okanagan.

Near Vernon, the Mable Lake fire is at 600 hectares and to the west of the Okanagan off the Coquihalla Highway, a blaze is burning at 400 hectares.

Several smaller fires are burning in the Shuswap, with the largest blaze in the Hunakwa Lake area 9 kilometres southeast from Seymour Arm at 1,100 hectares.

Environment Canada plans to provide an update on wildfire smoke on July 20.


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021Okanagan