With 38 fires burning throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the smoke-blanketed Okanagan, an air quality and health warning was issued on Thursday morning.
The provincial government’s air quality index has the Central Okanagan listed as a 10-plus. Ten is the scale’s highest rating, while nine is considered a high health risk.
When air quality ratings reach nine, the government says people with lung and/or breathing issues should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities, while children and the elderly should take it easy. At 10, let alone 10-plus, Interior Health says the warnings become even more important.
On Wednesday, the air quality rating for the Central Okanagan blipped between 2 and 4.
View of Okanagan Mountain Fire from Kelowna’s Upper Mission area just before 9pm Wednesday evening. @GlobalOkanagan pic.twitter上海龙凤419/kCyiyo6GD5
— Klaudia Van Emmerik (@KlaudiaGlobal) July 19, 2018
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Interior Health says “smoke affects each person differently, based on his or her health, age and exposure. Smoke exposure can be particularly concerning for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and lung (asthma/COPD) or heart disease as well as pregnant women.”
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According to Interior Health, the following can reduce the health risks associated with wildfire smoke:
Reduce outdoor activity on smoky days.Find a clean air shelter such as large public buildings like libraries, community centres and shopping malls as they often have cleaner, cooler air than smaller buildings or the outdoors.Consider purchasing a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and creating a filtered air room in your house.Travel to areas with better air quality – conditions can greatly vary across geographic areas and elevations.People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.Pay attention to local air quality reports and the conditions around you as smoke concentrations may vary and change over short periods and over small distances. A heavy bluish-white haze, possibly accompanied by the smell of smoke, is an indication smoke concentrations are higher than usual.
For more about the provincial air quality index, click here.
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