UPDATE: (4;45 p.m.) The AQHI now stands at 9 in Grande Prairie, 8 in Rycroft and Beaverlodge.
As smoke gets carried onto the prairies from wildfires in British Columbia, it is becoming more noticeable in the air.
For the Grande Prairie area, the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) hit a seven at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. The number puts the air quality at a "high risk" rating. At the last update on the Peace Airshed Zone Association website, they had Rycroft at nine and both Grande Prairie and Beaverlodge at eight.
When the AQHI reaches these levels, Environment Canada says the general population should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors. The "at-risk" population like children or the elderly should " take it easy" and consider rescheduling or reducing outdoors activities.
According to the forecast, the smoke could be slightly reduced by Friday and the AQHI could go back down to a moderate risk on health.
Crews are bracing themselves for wind and possible lightning in the areas that are already on fire across B.C.
The weather system is due to arrive as early as tonight or tomorrow in northwestern B.C. where crews are battling a wildfire that has destroyed buildings and properties in Telegraph Creek.
Aggressive overnight activity on that fire and on several others in the Northwest Fire Centre prompted the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to extend evacuation orders and alerts covering several blazes burning south of Burns Lake.
Numerous new fires reported overnight include a small, stubborn blaze on Vancouver's North Shore mountains above Horseshoe Bay, near the start of a popular hiking trail, and flames near the side of Highway 7 east of Vancouver that has restricted travel at least until later today.
w/ files from the Canadian Press
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