The latest air quality health index numbers show the southern Interior (maroon) at the top end of the scale at 10+, or very high risk.

UPDATE: Okanagan air quality index poor due to smoke

Index for entire Okanagan Valley rated at 10+, or very high risk, because of wildfire smoke

UPDATE: 9:42 p.m.

A special air quality statement remains in effect for the Central, North and South Okanagan and the Shuswap.

Smoke from wildfires raging across the province have forced Environment Canada to continue the smoky skies bulletin.

According to Environment Canada, during a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

Air quality for the Okanagan and Kamloops area is rated a 10 or very high risk and according to weather.gc.ca the poor air quality will continue on Tuesday.

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Where there’s (wildfire) smoke, there’s breathing concerns.

A special air quality statement has been issued for entire Okanagan Valley, as wildfire smoke impacts the province.

As of Monday morning, the air quality health index on weather.gc.ca was listed as 10+, or very high risk, for the entire Okanagan.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of the environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health,” says weather.gc.ca on its website.

There are three wildfires burning in Lumby and causing concerns for residents.

“I’ve been here 35 years and I can’t remember it ever being this bad,” said Lumby Fire Chief Tony Clayton.

See: Monashee complex wildfire update

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

Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.

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

Be air aware. Check your local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care.

For more information on current air quality, see www.bcairquality.ca.

Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.

WILDFIRE UPDATE, MONDAY A.M., KAMLOOPS FIRE CENTRE

*Snowy Mountain, 14 km southwest of Keremeos, 13,350 hectares in size. Classified as out of control;

*Mabel Creek, 6.5 km east of Mabel Lake, near Lumby, 1,861 hectares in size. Classified as out of control;

*Juliet Creek, 47 km southwest of Merritt, 600 hectares in size. Manage team from Placer Mountain Complex took over control of fire Sunday. Will update size as soon as visibility improves;

*Gottfriedsen Mountain, 24 km west of West Kelowna, eight km north of Highway 97, 550 hectares in size; Classified as active with 75 per cent guarded. Evacuation alert issued in the Pennask Lake and Hatheume Lake areas;

*Harris Creek Forest Service Road, east of Lumby, 508 hectares in size. Classified out of control;

*Sugar Mountain, 4 km east of Sugar Lake, near Cherryville, 332 hectares in size. Classified as out of control;

*Grouse Creek, 4.5 km northwest of D’Arcy (42 km northeast of Pemberton), 300 hectares in size. Classified as active and being monitored. Size will be updated when visibility improves.

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