UPDATE: Smoke to stick around for a few days

Smoke from wildfires in Washington State is blowing through the Okanagan Valley. Environment Canada has issued an air quality statement.

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Smoke blowing in from the large wildfires in the United States is going to stick around for the next few days, and is inhibiting firefighting air operations.

The smoke was blown into southern B.C. Saturday evening by strong southerly winds. A temperature inversion trapped the smoke in the valley bottoms which has resulted in poor visibility and air quality issues according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The most active fire in the Kamloops Fire Centre is still the 3,100-hectare Testalinden Creek wildfire burning south of Oliver. Firefighters are now reassessing tactics due to the smoke complicating air operations.

The Ministry says smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperature change.

An smokey skies advisory has been issued by Environment Canada and the Ministry of Environment for the entire Okanagan Valley, as well as southern areas of the Boundary and Kootenay regions and the Port Renfrew area.

The air quality statement says  the smoke blowing in from Washington State is resulting in high concentrations of fine particulates and poor air quality.

Environment Canada suggests people avoid strenuous outdoor activity and if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms to contact your health care provider: difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort or a sudden onset of coughing or irritation of airways.

Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, seniors and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease.

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