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Cool-down, rain brings some relief to B.C. firefighters; fire ratings downgraded in the north

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Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 5:10 PM -

Cooler weather and light rain across British Columbia are providing some relief for firefighters this weekend, prompting officials to downgrade fire danger ratings in some parts of the province. 

Navi Saini of the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says much of the northern and central areas of the province have lowered their ratings to low or moderate. 

But Saini adds that many areas in southern B.C. still have ratings of high to extreme, which means new fires could easily start and spread. 


RELATED: Province spending $3.5 million a day to battle fires


About 200 firefighters from Central and Eastern Canada are headed west this weekend to help fight the forest fires in B.C.

One-hundred-fifty-nine fires are currently burning in the province -- 17 of which are considered major. 

Ten evacuation orders or alerts are in effect, the largest being at Smith Creek, near West Kelowna where 2,500 people have been asked to leave their homes. 

BELOW: Human error results in half of B.C.'s wildfires

HEALTH CONCERNS 

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has issued a wildfire smoke advisory for the Cariboo, Prince George, McGregor, Williston, B.C. Peace River, Fort Nelson, East Columbia, West Kootenay, and Kootenay Lake regions because of forest fire smoke affecting these ares. 

The ministry has also issued a smokey skies advisory for the entire Thompson, Fraser Canyon, Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola, Boundary and Shuswap regions. 

Smoke concentrations in the aforementioned regions will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change. 

People with respiratory conditions or existing cardiovascular conditions should monitor their symptoms and consult a physician if they worsen. Residents are encouraged to reduce or postpone strenuous outdoor activities until the advisory is lifted.

With files from The Canadian Press

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