Metro Vancouver will likely be under a heavy blanket of wildfire smoke all weekend, says a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
However, Dave Ray says the smoke, which is coming from the catastrophic wildfires in the Okanagan, should start to clear by Monday.
“It’s pretty obvious today, the sun is orange and there’s haze in the upper atmosphere,” said Ray on Saturday.
“Sunday is actually looking to be the worst in terms of smoke. So we’ve got widespread smoke forecast for tomorrow. But the good news is the flow changes again on Monday and so we’re going to start to see some of that smoke sent out and start to leave early in the week.”
He said the region hasn’t seen much smoke this summer from Interior wildfires because the airflow has been typically moving west to east but now it’s travelling east to west so the Lower Mainland and some parts of Vancouver Island will be smoky for a couple of days.
While Metro Vancouver has not yet posted an air quality warning, Ray said he wouldn’t be surprised if one was issued on Sunday.
Fourteen regions of the province, however, are under air quality alerts because they are expected to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. They include 100 Mile, the Slocan Valley, Boundary, East Columbia, Kootnenay, Nicola and North Thompson regions.
Also under smoky sky bulletins are the Okanagan, Prince George, Shuswap, Similkameen, South Thompson, West Columbia, West Kootenay and Yoho Park regions.
Health officials advise taking precaution when the haze is bad and limiting outdoor activity. Those most at risk include people with health conditions, including respiratory disease, children and infants, pregnant women and seniors.
B.C. is under a provincial state of emergency because of hundreds of out of control wildfires, including fires in West Kelowna and Kelowna that have destroyed homes. According to the B.C. Wildfire Service the McDougall Creek has now been mapped at more than 105 square kilometres.
About 15,000 people are on evacuation order across B.C., and a further 20,000 are under evacuation alerts.
Experts urge B.C. residents to protect against wildfire smoke to prevent serious illness
Another harrowing night for Okanagan amid B.C. wildfire state of emergency
B.C. Wildfires: ‘It’s not done’: Kelowna fire crews battle to save homes as residents flee flames
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