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Special Air Quality Statement for West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake and Arrow Lakes — Slocan Lakes

The Fire Smoke website shows the West Kootenay region engulfed in smoke as wildfires continue to burn. — Screenshot photo

Environment Canada issued a Special Air Quality Statement for the Southern Interior of BC, including the West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake and Arrow Lakes — Slocan Lakes Regions due to wildfire smoke in the area.

Environment Canada said that smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Other regions impacted include, West Columbia, East Columbia, Yoho Park - Kootenay Park, East Kootenay and Elk Valley.

“Wildfire activity over the past 24 hours has contributed to increased haze and smoke over sections of (Southeastern) BC,” Environment Canada said.

Environment Canada said 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 our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health,” Environment Canada said.

Environment Canada said people with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

“People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution,” Environment Canada said.

“They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.”

"If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure,” Environment Canada added.

Wildfire smoke is a constantly changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.

For more details, please consult www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html.

For more information on current air quality, visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.

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.

While some areas of the province deal with smoke, other parts — including the Boundary, Okanagan and Lower Mainland — are under a Heat Warning into Friday, with temperatures soaring to between 35 C and 40 C.