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Air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley lifted

Last Updated Aug 28, 2017 at 7:12 am PDT

(Ben Wilson, NEWS 1130, Photo)

The thick haze over the Lower Mainland is starting to dissipate, but more than 140 fires are still burning in BC

Dr Rhonda Low says people with underlying health conditions may continue to experience irritating symptoms from smoke

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The change in the weather is certainly clearing out the skies over the Lower Mainland with the thick, smoky haze that’s been plaguing the coast now dissipating and Metro Vancouver lifting an air quality advisory that had been in place since August 1st.

There are still 140 fires burning across the province, but marine air has begun filtering into Vancouver, dispersing some of the smoke. Rain tonight is expected to improve the air quality even further over the next few days. There have also been reports of rain at Vancouver airport that should help clear that smoke.

Dr Rhonda Low with the Copeman Healthcare Centre says any physical effects, such as a scratchy throat, cough or red eyes, should start to disappear for healthy people as the smoke leaves the Lower Mainland.

“But if you do have an underlying predisposition for allergies or asthma then this could linger for a few weeks and you might have to see your healthcare professional,” she says.

“If you don’t have any underlying health conditions you should be able to clear this within a few days as our air quality improves. It’s just an irritant.”

Dr Lowe says how quickly you recover depends on how serious any underlying health condition is.

Wildfire situation

The latest evacuation order impacting people in the Chilcotin has been expanded to include nearly 80 people. The area known as Titetown is on the western border of the Cariboo Fire District and north of Anahim Lake.

Because of the evacuation order, Canada Post mail destined for Nimpo Lake and Charlotte Lake is being re-directed to the post office in Williams Lake.

The BC Wildfire Service has also closed off backcountry areas in the Cariboo Fire Zone (from Clinton to Quesnel), because of ongoing extreme fire danger. It means no public access to Crown land is allowed, except for firefighters, some residents and some commercial operators.

Bug breaks out in Kamloops

With up to 7,000 people still out of their homes because of BC’s wildfires, it’s been confirmed that a bug has broken out at one evacuation centre.

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry says she doesn’t know exactly how many people got sick from the gastrointestinal outbreak in Kamloops.

“It has cleared up and we have not seen any further cases in past week. It is something not unexpected when we see people living in communal settings,” she says.