A return of more seasonal temperatures has the City of Kamloops reopening all its nature parks about a week after closing them due to extreme fire danger amidst a record-breaking heat wave.
“Staff will be out today [July 9] opening gates and removing signs. Please use our parks responsibly,” a statement from the municipality said.
The parks are open again to bike, pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Residents are reminded that smoking is always prohibited in all city parks and walking trails.
Additionally, as of Saturday (July 10) the Barnhartvale Landfill and Yard Waste Depot will reopen.
The parks, and the landfill have both been closed since July 1, following five days of extreme heat during which the mercury reached over the 40C mark.
Temperatures in Kamloops over the coming weekend are forecasted in the mid 30C range cresting at 37C next Tuesday before dropping to 33C by Thursday.
The following nature parks have now reopened:
• Batchelor Nature Park
• Campbell Creek Nature Park
• Capilano Park
• Trail connecting Barnhartvale to Peterson Creek through Juniper
• Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park
• Gleneagles Park
• High Canada Place Park
• Kamloops Bike Ranch
• Kenna Cartwright Nature Park
• Peterson Creek Nature Park
• Pineview Valley Park
• Rose Hill Park
• Sahali Terrace Nature Park
• Sifton Loop Trail
• Skyline Park
• Valleyview Nature Park
• West Highland Nature Park
Multiple wildfires in the area, however, has lead to Environment Canada issuing a air quality statement for smoky skies in the South Thompson region, which includes Kamloops.
According to the advisory, smoke is widespread through the southern Interior but may remain aloft, and smoke from Cutoff Creek and Chilako fires may impact areas through central B.C. over the next 24 hours.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
Environment Canada advises taking extra precautions to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke. Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast air quality values.
The air quality index for Kamloops is currently listed at a four. That level is considered a moderate health risk and advises at-risk populatgions to consider rescheduling strenuous outdoor activity. The general population is advised there's no need to modify its usual outdoor activity unless experiencing symptoms such as cough or throat irritation.
According to the BC Wildfire Service there are 224 active wildfires burning across the province as of July 9, with many located near Kamloops including the Sparks Lake and Durand Lake wildfires, which are still considered out of control.
The BCWFS said there have been 787 wildfires in B.C. so far this season, with 330 of them started within the last week. The heat dome experienced across the province at the end of June, fire officials said, advanced the drying out of wildfire fuels by about three weeks.