Some parts of B.C. enjoy better air quality but southern regions still affected

VANCOUVER — Smoky skies have cleared slightly in parts of British Columbia but Environment Canada is maintaining air quality statements for the entire southern third of the province.

For the first time in days, the weather office lifted smoky skies bulletins for all areas north of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Thompson regions.

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But it says wildfire smoke carried north from blazes in Washington state, Oregon and California is expected to continue blanketing southern B.C. at least until later this week.

The province's air quality health index reflected a brief improvement in conditions early Wednesday with only Castlegar, Nanaimo and the south Okanagan ranked at the top of the 10-point scale.

But the index, which measures health risks from a combination of pollutants including particulate matter caused by wildfire smoke, shows a very high risk for southern B.C. later today and through Thursday.

The elderly, children and those with health issues are urged to reduce or avoid strenuous outdoor activities when risks are rated as high or very high.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020

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