A smoky skies bulletin has been issued for the Nicola area, including Merritt and the surrounding area, for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Officials with the provincial government and B.C.’s health authorities said in a release today (August 22) wildfire smoke can be harmful even at low concentrations, noting that anyone can take action to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke. Environment Canada noted that smoke can be especially dangerous for those with underlying health conditions.

“People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke,” reads the Environment Canada release. “Speak with your health care provider about developing a management plan for wildfire smoke events and maintaining a supply of necessary medications at home and always carrying these medications with you during wildfire season.”

Officials recommended people take a break from the smoke at a location in their community where d clean, cool air can be found. In Merritt, this could be the public library, located at 1691 Garcia St. The library is open daily, with the exception of Sunday and Monday.

The bulletin can be accessed online at the B.C. government’s website. For more information on wildfire smoke and health, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website.