Air quality continues to worsen, no relief in sight for B.C.
Saturday, August 18, 2018, 3:14 PM - Smoke from hundreds of wildfires across British Columbia continues to darken skies across Western Canada, with widespread air quality advisories and more than 560 wildfires burning.
There has been little relief, with no significant rain in the forecast for much of next week. Forecasters continue to watch the winds to see if they will fan the flames, and where they will blow the smoke.
(See also: National fire danger map)
- Widespread air quality statements remain in effect for most of the province
- No measurable rain in the forecast for the next week or so
- Temperatures soaring once again into the high 20s to low 30s.
"Concentration of thick smoke will continue to suppress daytime temperatures," says The Weather Network meteorologist Nadine Hinds-Powell. "General westerly upper flow continues, but shifts northerly Saturday. Shifting wind direction will determine the flow of the smoke across Western Canada."
WATCH BELOW: WIND FORECAST
AIR QUALITY REMAINS POOR
Air quality statements remain widespread across almost all of Western Canada, stretching as far as northwestern Ontario, and covering almost all of B.C., including Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
"Smoky skies will continue across most of the province for the next few days. Local smoke levels may vary based on wind direction and fire characteristics but, until a significant change in the provincial weather pattern occurs, widespread air quality improvements are not expected," Environment Canada says.
Visibility in the worst-hit areas is as low as 1 km in places like Kelowna, while the sheer amount of particles in the atmosphere have made the day extremely dark.
The smoke is streaming eastward from where the fires are burning, such that Edmonton and Grand Prairie have experienced the worst air quality in the west.
"While the Air Quality Health Index for the area of Vancouver is around three, this may deteriorate Sunday as the winds become more north-northeasterly," says Hinds-Powell. "No rain in the forecast until perhaps next weekend for British Columbia and the western Prairies."
Temperatures are expected to be hot early next week for the South Coast, with daytime highs near 30oC likely.