Heat wave causing haze on the horizon. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Houston Today)

Haze over Houston skies not smoke yet, says Northwest Fire Centre

Houston residents have been seeing a sort of a haze in the skies and wondering if it is smoke but the BC Wildfire Service's Northwest Fire Centre (BCWS NWFC) clarifies what this means.

  • Jun. 29, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Houston residents have been seeing a sort of a haze in the skies and wondering if it is smoke but the BC Wildfire Service’s Northwest Fire Centre (BCWS NWFC) clarifies what this means.

Carolyn Bartos, the communications specialist with the NWFC said that the haze currently covering the Northwest Fire Centre is actually not smoke, yet.

“According to the BC Wildfire Service forecasters, the haze is being created by sun reflecting off the ‘heat dome’ and limiting our visibility. This was also present yesterday in the NWFC and expected to improve as the sun angle changes,” she said. A similar haze is being observed in other parts of northern B.C. including Burns Lake.

Robert Krause, director of protective services in Burns Lake gave an additional explanation to what could be causing the haze and said that during these large high pressure ridges the smoke and dust gets trapped in the valleys and cannot escape causing the “haze on the horizon”.

“Depending on the upper-level winds, smoke could be transported from as far away as Russia. Currently there are no wildfires of concern in the Northwest Fire Centre. There is a possibility that this smoke could be from fires in the Fort Nelson area, however I do not know that for sure,” he said.

Bartos also suggested that to monitor this haze and smoke conditions, the area residents could use the BCWS Mobile App and activate the Smoke Forecast layer. This feature will give a forecast of any smoke pushing into our region and show what is creating the haze in the sky.

“Once the Smoke Forecast layer is activated, the public will see that smoke is starting to be detected in northern parts of the NWFC, and pushing closer from southern and eastern parts of the province,” she said.

Other key features of the BC Wildfire Services Mobile App includes current fire danger ratings, active fires, current wildfire statistics, DriveBC events and current weather conditions to name a few.

Currently, with rising temperatures, an open fire ban has been put in place across the province including in the NWFC for category 2 and category 3 fires as well as for fireworks, firecrackers and lanterns. A ban on campfires was also put in place starting noon on June 30. The prohibition is expected to remain in place until October 15, 2021 or until an order rescinding the prohibition is issued.

“With more wildfires being detected around the province the haze could be turning to smoke soon,” warned Bartos.

Anyone can report a wildfire directly from the app as well – which gives you a direct link to the 1-800 number or call on 1-800-663-5555 to report a wildfire.

Houston Today