Wildfire smoke causes very poor air quality in Okanagan, Kamloops, Castlegar, and Williams Lake

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      With nearly 600 wildfires burning across the province, many British Columbians are feeling the effects in their throats.

      That's because the Air Quality Health Index shows extremely high ratings this morning in several areas.

      Castlegar, Kamloops, and the Okanagan were all rated at 10+ at 6 a.m., which indicates a "very high risk".

      This means people at risk, including those with heart and respiratory conditions, should avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Children and the elderly are also advised not to exert themselves physically outdoors.

      At 10+, even the general population should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities, particularly if they're coughing or experiencing throat irritation.

      In Castlegar, the rating is expected to fall to nine today, which is still considered "high risk".

      Kamloops and the Okanagan will fall to eight, which is also "high risk". Williams Lake is expected to reach seven today, up from six at 6 a.m.

      Ratings from seven to nine are accompanied by a recomendation for the general population to consider reducing strenouous outdoor activities. At-risk people are advised to reduce or reschedule strenuous activities. Children and the elderly are encouraged to "take it easy".

      In the Lower Mainland, the northeast area of Metro Vancouver will have the worst air quality this morning, with a rating of five. It's expected to drop to four later in the day, matching southeast Vancouver, whereas southwest Metro Vancouver will go from four to three.

      When the AQHI is between four and six, it's considered "moderate risk". The at-risk population is advised to consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities, but there's no need for the general population to modify its behaviour.

      The cleanest air in the region today is in northeast Metro Vancouver, where the risk will remain "low" at three on the AQHI.

      Normally, the North Shore mountains are visible from the corner of West Broadway and Pine Street in Vancouver, but that's not the case this morning.
      Charlie Smith