Smoke from raging wildfires in Washington state lingered over British Columbia on Tuesday, turning clear blue skies into a murky, orange-coloured haze.
A high-pressure weather system pulled the smog from Washington into B.C. during the windy Labour Day Monday. The pressure is expected to hold on Tuesday, keeping the smoke in place over the southern half of the province.
Residents from Vancouver Island through Metro Vancouver to the Okanagan woke up to the noticeable smell and burnt, ashy taste of smog in the air.
Sunrise in Victoria was an eerie shade of red, mirroring blood-red skies in Seattle. In Kelowna, the sky was the haziest it’s been all summer.
A beach in West Kelowna under clear skies on Sunday, compared to the haze on Tuesday:
The air quality in the central and south Okanagan as well as the West Shore neighbourhood on Vancouver Island was rated 10+ as of 1 p.m. PT, according to Environment Canada, meaning a “very high” risk. The risk in Victoria was rated at nine.
At that level of air quality, Environment Canada advises the public to reduce strenuous outdoor activities, while children, the elderly and those with health problems should avoid strenuous outdoor activities altogether.
Today alone, almost 300,000 acres in Washington have burned. Thousands of homes are without power. Many families have had to evacuate their homes and many homes have been lost. We’re still seeing new fire starts in every corner of the state. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WaWILDFIRE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WaWILDFIRE</a><br><br>🎥credit: Clarence Jones <a href=”https://t.co/MofYWeuQ62″>pic.twitter.com/MofYWeuQ62</a>
Hurricane-force winds and scorching heat fuelled wildfires across Washington state over the long weekend, burning hundreds of thousands of acres of land and destroying most of the small farming town of Malden in the east of the state.
High temperatures forecast for B.C.
As a followup to the smoke, forecasters are expecting unusual heat in B.C. this week.
Special weather statements are in effect for much of southern B.C., from the west coast of Vancouver Island through the Lower Mainland to the Okanagan and the Kootenays.
In the statements, Environment Canada said the same high-pressure system responsible for pulling in the U.S. smoke is also expected to push daytime temperatures 5-10 C above seasonal norms on Wednesday and Thursday.
Temperatures in Vancouver could reach 31 C by the end of the week, according to meteorologists.