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Wildfire smoke pollutes air in North Okanagan, Shuswap

A smoky skies bulletin has been issued for several southeastern regions of B.C.
A view of smoky skies from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (Lena Simonson/Facebook)

A smoky skies bulletin has been issued for the North and South Thompson, the North Okanagan, Shuswap and several southeastern regions of B.C.

The affected regions are expected to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Gail Roth, air quality meteorologist for the Ministry of Environment, said Thursday the air is moving from the southeast, sending smoke from active wildfires south of Kamloops and in the southeastern region of the province to neighbouring regions.

“Last night it was a bit windier so that helped to create more smoke plumes, and then it’s calmer now so what happens overnight is the smoke can really build up in the valley bottoms,” Roth said.

There is a fair bit of smoke north of Vernon and in the Revelstoke area as well as the Kootenays Thursday, and there is a good chance more smoke will creep into the Vernon area by Friday morning, Aug. 4.

“Many regions may improve throughout the day, but as the atmosphere gets more stable at night and we’re moving into these very calm stable conditions you’ll get more smoke pooling overnight in the early morning hours,” Roth said, adding the Shuswap and Revelstoke were “quite impacted this morning.”

The Slocan and Nakusp areas are currently smoky, but conditions in those areas could improve throughout the afternoon due to hot and stable conditions, Roth said.

“What happens is the ground heats, and it actually helps the atmosphere to lift that smoke up a bit (above where people are breathing) but then it sinks back down and accumulates overnight.”

Roth said to expect smoky conditions in the affected regions to persist until early next week, as there is a high pressure ridge that’s building over the province that will lead to warm temperatures and calm and stable conditions.

“There’s quite a few active fires down in that area, they’re going to continue to produce smoke and if there’s not a lot of wind, we’ll just see how it moves it around.”

Wildfire smoke will vary in the affected regions over the next 24 hours. Smoke will be most prevalent near active fires and in valley bottoms during the evening and early morning hours. In the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lakes regions, smoke will be more prevalent in the northern areas, less so in the south.

Smoky skies bulletins are updated daily. The bulletin can be accessed online at

READ MORE: Wind gusting up to 70 km/h poses challenges in B.C. wildfire fight

READ MORE: Hiren Creek wildfire grows to 758 hectares near Revelstoke

Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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