A blue lining in our smoky grey cloud covering?

There may soon be a blue lining in the grey cloud enveloping the South Okanagan.

An online smoke prediction model is suggesting wildfire smoke that has smothered the region through much of the weekend will dissipate late this evening and deliver blue skies through Tuesday afternoon.

The BlueSky model suggests smoke should leave the region about 11 p.m. this evening, returning around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

In between, residents and visitors can expect continued air quality health warnings of 10+ — the highest warning delivered through the provincial service.

Much of the smoke is coming from south of the border, the result of wildfires burning in California and the Pacific Northwest.

The smoke has caused havoc in the Okanagan valley, closing airports in Penticton and Kelowna Sunday and cancelling athletic events.

Residents and visitors are reminded that at-risk populations — including the elderly, children and those with heart and other medial issues — should avoid strenuous activities and physical exertion outdoors and all others should reduce or reschedule activities outdoors, especially if you or a family member experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Meanwhile, residents living in another 82 homes in the Similkameen were told they should be ready to pack up and leave as wildfire rages out of control west of Keremeos — joining residents in 870 properties already given the same warning.

The evacuation alert was issued Saturday as a result of the Cool Creek wildfire.

Affected properties lie on the south side of Hwy. 3 between Keremeos and the eastern boundary of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band reserve.

Also under alert are the Cathedral Provincial Park and Areas G and H of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

As of Sunday, the Cool Creek fire was out of control and pegged at 6,000 hectares. It sparked to life Aug. 15 about 20 km northeast of Eastgate.

Another 870 properties remain under alert in the Keremeos area as a result of the Snowy Mountain fire, which is considered held at 13,000 hectares.

— With files from the Penticton Herald.



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