Metro Vancouver is maintaining an air quality advisory for the Lower Mainland due to smoke from wildfires burning in British Columbia and south of the border.
The advisory was issued Friday, October 14 due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere caused by wildfires southeast of Chilliwack (near Chilliwack Lake), near Hope, near Harrison Lake and at Washington.
Since Saturday afternoon, Metro Vancouver AirMap shows that many areas of the Lower Mainland have a “low health risk”. However, many of these areas are expected to be at “moderate health risk” by Saturday evening and Sunday. Smoke concentrations can vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change and wildfire behavior changes.
Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes air quality advisory
With forecasts calling for a week of sunshine, the poor air quality is not expected to improve for several days until there is a significant change in the weather.
Fine particles, also called PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. PM2.5 can easily get inside due to its small size. You should refrain from any outdoor activity during the air quality advisory, especially if breathing is uncomfortable.
“Exposure to PM2.5 is of particular concern for people with underlying conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and/or diabetes; people with respiratory infections; pregnant women and infants; children; older adults; and outdoor workers (eg, construction and agricultural workers). Socially marginalized people may also be at high risk (for example, people who are homeless or poorly housed),” according to Metro Vancouver.
If you are affected by smoke: keep windows closed, use a portable HEPA air purifier or visit a public building with air filtration.
If you experience symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing, seek prompt medical attention. Call 911 in an emergency.