Murky skies forecast for southern B.C. as more smoke from U.S. wildfires drifts north

Heat advisories have ended in British Columbia following several days of record-breaking temperatures in some areas, but Environment Canada’s advisories about wildfire smoke still stand.

The weather office is maintaining smoky skies bulletins for most of Vancouver Island and all of the inner South Coast and southern B.C., east to the Kootenay region.

The advisory said forecast models over the next 24 to 48 hours show the potential for long-range transport of smoke from dozens of wildfires in the northwestern United States.

Environment Canada’s air quality health index lists air quality at moderate to high risk for many parts of southern B.C., meaning those with health issues should reduce outdoor activities. Air quality in Victoria was rated 10+ early Friday, indicating a “very high” health risk.

Weather data shows a high pressure ridge is lifting after bringing heat advisories for large sections of the province, but 12 records were set Thursday — including three that have stood since 1944.

Vancouver, Victoria and Pitt Meadows all saw their hottest day in 76 years, while records also fell on Vancouver Island, Sechelt, Squamish, Pemberton, West Vancouver, the Cariboo region of Puntzi Mountain and as far north as Mackenzie.

Recent wildfires have scorched nearly 2,426 square kilometres in Washington state. More than 3,625 square kilometres have burned this week in Oregon, where hot, windy conditions continued. Authorities said more than 500,000 people — more than 10 per cent of the state’s population — have been forced to evacuate their homes.

In California, 19 people have been killed and at least 4,000 structures have burned in what officials have called a “historic” wildfire season.

WATCH | San Francisco skies turn orange as deadly wildfires sweep California:

Area residents capture video along the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as the city’s skies are blanketed with smog and debris from wildfires throughout the state. 0:45

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