Smoke from wildfires in the province and elsewhere shrouds the communities of Louis Creek and Exlou on Tuesday, Aug. 8, causing people to stay in doors and restrict their outdoor activities if at all possible. Jill Hayward photo

Wildfire smoke fills North Thompson Valley – people advised to be mindful of their health

Many areas of the province are currently fighting active wildfires, with evacuation alerts and orders affecting many communities, and sadly, homes and lively-hoods are also being lost.

Last week’s lightning storms, high winds, and recent temperatures climbing again into the high 30°C range have not helped the situation. Last Tuesdays long range forecast warned the North Thompson that Thursday could see temperatures rise to 40°C.

As of press time last Tuesday a fire was still burning on Raft Mountain in Clearwater, with another five smaller fires in the area noted on the BC Wildfire Maps. Last week a possible lightning strike sparked a grass fire in Rayleigh on Palmer-Forsythe Road at Seven O Ranches where fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze, and another suspected lightning strike started a fire on Dunn Peak.

Wildfire smoke is continuing to impact the province., and heavy smoke has been hanging in the North Thompson Valley off and on for weeks. Not as heavy though as it was last Tuesday, showing extremely high ratings on a Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI) scale resulting in an air advisory for Barriere and the surrounding area.

The advisory warns that smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour. It is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.

People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

The bulletin can be accessed online at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air/air-quality/air-advisories

For general information about wildfire smoke and your health, contact HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 (toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

 

Visitors to Wells Gray Park this past week visiting Helmcken Falls were shocked to see from the trail on the way to the falls an active forest fire on Raft Mountain. The fire is noted on the BC Wildfire website as the Jonah Lake fire, one of six fires burning in or near Wells Gray Park as of last Tuesday. Margaret Houben photo:

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