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Smokey skies bulletin issued for South Okanagan amid Keremeos Creek wildfire

Environment Canada posted an air quality statement on Saturday afternoon
The Keremeos Creek wildfire near the community of Apex has grown to be an estimated 150 hectares. Green Mountain Road is closed, but Highway 3A is open. (Photo- Keremeos Communities News Facebook)

A smokey skies bulletin has been issued for the South Okanagan because of the “aggressive” Keremeos Creek wildfire.

Environment Canada posted a special air quality statement on Saturday afternoon for Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos, citing the blaze’s current and potential impact on the region for the next 24 to 48 hours.

“During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour,” the statement reads. “Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.”

The Keremeos Creek wildfire has grown considerably in size since being spotted on Friday night.

“We are witnessing some pretty aggressive fire behaviour and can assume the estimate (of the size) is now upwards of 200 to 300 hectares,” Kaitlin Baskerville from the Kamloops Fire Centre said in an update on Saturday.

Environment Canada adds that 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.

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

The next bulletin update will be made available on Sunday.

READ MORE: One structure lost as aggressive Keremeos Creek wildfire continues to grow


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