VANCOUVER -- Environment Canada has issued a slew of air quality alerts as wildfires continue to burn in British Columbia, at the same time as a heat wave is striking the coast.

While the largest wildfires are concentrated in the south-central part of B.C., near the border with the United States, 36 air quality statements have been issued across the province as far north as Atlin, 150 kilometres north of Juneau, Alaska, because of the smoke.

Weather statements are the least urgent type of alert, but they warn that smoke conditions can change quickly and people with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are most likely to experience health effects.

A ridge of high pressure has meteorologists forecasting a prolonged stretch of well above normal temperatures for the south coast, and extra warm weather for the central and north interior coasts.

The heat warnings say the ridge of high pressure is anchored off the southern coast and sits over inland sections of the central and north coasts.

Environment Canada is reminding people in those regions to stay hydrated, spend time in cool places and avoid sunburns.