Grand Forks and Christina Lake are likely due for another stretch of high heat and smoky skies, according to the most recent forecast by Air Quality Meteorologist Gail Roth.
Soothingly more palatable temperatures and better air quality graced area skies this week thanks to a low-pressure system that made its way from West to East across the Southern Interior said Roth, who works for B.C.’s environment ministry. But Roth is calling for a high-pressure ridge she said would probably sink more heat and less wind into the region starting early next week.
“We’re hoping for cooler temperatures and maybe some precipitation over the next couple days,” she told The Gazette Friday, Aug. 6. The smoke is expected to generally dissipate over the weekend, she said, qualifying that smoky skies will likely persist near active wildfires.
The Interior Health Authority (IH) earlier this week said smoke levels in Southeastern B.C. have been high enough to induce fatigue in people who go outside. Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry on Tuesday, Aug. 3, further pointed out that heavy concentrations of outdoor smoke can lead to, “more severe symptoms, like shortness of breath, severe cough, dizziness, chest pains, heart palpitations or heart racing.” These symptoms tend to be short-lived, she explained.
Average daily smoke levels in Grand Forks last week were consistently above the province’s air quality objective of 25 micro-grams of very fine particulate matter (i.e., smoke) per cubic metre (25 µg/m3), ranging from 26 µg/m3 to 154 µg/m3 between July 30 and Thursday, Aug. 5.
The highest hourly reading was at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, when smoke levels were clocked at nearly 253 µg/m3, according to the city’s Air quality monitoring station.
Smoke levels were sitting at roughly 47 µg/m3, or roughly double the provincial objective, as of 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 6.