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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Soupy, sooty skies over B.C. as more than 160 wildfires sear woodlands

VANCOUVER - A red-stained sky greeted early risers across large sections of British Columbia on Friday as heavy smoke from about 160 wildfires creates a sooty, soupy atmosphere.

Environment Canada and B.C.'s Environment Ministry are maintaining a special air quality statement for many parts of the central Interior, from the Cariboo, just south of Prince George, south to the U.S. border.

Quesnel, Williams Lake, Kootenay Lake and the East Columbia as far as Creston to the southeast, are under a wildfire smoke advisory.

A smoky skies advisory is posted for the Thompson, Fraser Canyon, Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola, Boundary and Shuswap regions.

The advisories warn smoke concentrations will vary widely due to fire, wind and temperature changes, but everyone in the affected regions is urged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities while people with chronic conditions are advised to stay inside.

A cooling trend is sweeping across much of the province and Environment Canada says skies over northeastern B.C. are already clearing, but forecasters warn several large blazes are still burning and conditions could deteriorate again.

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