As Metro Vancouver is being warned about the risk of particulates in the air from wildfire smoke, those battling blazes in the central Okanagan say the smoke is helping their cause.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District remains under an air quality advisory as a result of smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning across the province.

An estimated 30,000 people are under evacuation orders in the province because the blazes, including the 110-square-kilometre McDougall Creek fire burning on both sides of Lake Okanagan.

After crews were able to make progress fighting the fire on Sunday, Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting told a press conference he expects they'll continue to spend today taking advantage of good weather to go into neighbourhoods and extinguish fires around homes and create a "guard."

Whiting said that while the amount of smoke in the air has been "tough" it is reducing the sun's intensity, which helps in the fight.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is recommending people, especially those with underlying health conditions, postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable

Whiting said he expects they'll be able to start reaching out to evacuees over the next few days to inform them if their homes have survived the fire.

So far there is no official count of how many homes have been destroyed, but officials have acknowledged damage is "significant."

There are more than 380 active wildfires burning in B.C.

Smoky conditions help B.C. fire fight, causes #MetroVancouver air quality advisory. #BCWildfires #Wildfires #AirQuality

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2023

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