Wildfire crews report some headway was made over the weekend battling hundreds of blazes across British Columbia, but thick smoke continues to blanket the province, creating challenges for communities far from any flames.
The air quality health index released by the B.C. government shows a very high health risk in areas from Whistler, Squamish and Nanaimo to the Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Castlegar and parts of Metro Vancouver.
Strenuous activity is not recommended and the young, the elderly and those with heart or lung ailments are advised to stay indoors.
A grey haze also cut visibility and disrupted air traffic in Kamloops and Kelowna over the weekend, but the website of both airports show travel has not been affected today.
The BC Wildfire Service says about 550 fires are burning in the province, but there weren’t many lightning strikes over the weekend and that gave crews a chance to concentrate on some of the 54 blazes currently threatening people or property.
The largest fire continues to be the 850-square-kilometre blaze moving north from Fraser Lake toward Fort St. James and officials say an increase in wildfire activity in southeastern B.C. is also a concern.