Air clears in some parts of B.C. while other areas socked in by smoke

Air quaility and fire risks threaten some regions of B.C.

Environment Canada is offering some hope to residents of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley after nearly a week of stagnant, smoke-filled air, but the forecast is not as positive for people closer to the wildfires burning in Interior British Columbia.

Air-quality advisories remain for most of the province due to high levels of ultra-fine grit tossed up by the fires.

RELATED: Smoke causes visibility issues on Highway 5 & 97 C

The weather office does say those fine particulates should continue to decline across the Lower Mainland and a smog advisory has been dropped.

Cooler temperatures and fresh Pacific air blowing toward the coast are credited for the reprieve, but forecasters say winds over the Interior will pin the smoke there and communities downwind of wildfires will stay shrouded for the foreseeable future.

a special air quality bulletin from Environment Canada issued at 6:11 p.m. on Aug. 23 reads.“Over the Interior where northwesterly winds will prevail, very little improvement if any is expected over the next few days. The latest forecast models are suggesting more conservative rainfall amounts of over the weekend so current wildfires will see little help from the rain,”

Winds are also complicating the battle against many fires, including two with a combined area of more than 1,000-square kilometres southwest of Burns Lake and along the south shore of Francois Lake.

RELATED: Rush of Pacific air worsens Okanagan and Shuswap air quality

Officials say no new homes have been lost since the blaze destroyed three in Lower Post near the Yukon boundary and a trace amount of rain has fallen.

Crews are now working to keep flames away from the Alaska Highway.

It was hoped cooler, showery conditions might offer a weekend break for firefighters in the province until Environment Canada said if any rain falls, it is likely to be too spotty to make a difference.

The BC Wildfire Service says nearly 600 wildfires are burning.

The Canadian Press

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