UPDATE JULY 20:
The Ministry of Environment has ended the smoky skies advisory that was issued July 16 for the Okanagan-Shuswap.
While there are still fires burning in the region, cool and damp weather conditions have resulted in a decrease in smoke production from the fires and there is no longer widespread smoke in the region.
Forecasts are that these conditions will continue through the rest of the week.
North Okanagan residents are being warned that breathing in high concentrations of smoke could create health care challenges.
The Ministry of Environment has issued a smoky skies advisory for the Okanagan and Shuswap because of forest fire smoke that is affecting the area.
“Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change,” said Ralph Adams, an air quality meteorologist.
“Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.”
This advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
The B.C. Wildfire Branch reports that there are currently several large fires burning in northern B.C., Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.
“Because smoke can travel hundreds of kilometres, it is common to see smoky skies even when there are no active fires in your area,” states the B.C. Wildfire Information Facebook page.
Residents can go to www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html and it provides an hour-by-hour forecast of smoke from wildfires in Western Canada up to 48 hours in the future.