Wildfire haze hits Metro Vancouver, but no air-quality advisory yet
A haze that has been building across British Columbia due to wildfire smoke has begun to arrive in the Lower Mainland.
Some of the smoke is coming from B.C.’s own wildfires, including a bog fire in Richmond, however, some of it is coming from much further away.
Particulate created by wildfires as distant as Ontario, Siberia and even Greece has made its way into the atmosphere, and has arrived in B.C. by means of a process called “long-range transport.”
In Metro Vancouver, some of that haze was visible on Friday, however, the region said air particulate levels remained below its warning levels.
According to Metro Vancouver’s AirMap, most communities in the region were at a level 4, or “medium” grade on the health index as of Friday evening.
However, several stations further inland including Langley, Maple Ridge, Surrey East, Port Moody and Coquitlam showed a level-5 rating.
Langley, Surrey and Pitt Meadows also showed a “high” pollutant rating when it came to fine particulate matter.
No air-quality advisories had been issued as of Friday evening, but Metro Vancouver said there could be localized impacts, particularly as the column of smoke from Richmond moves.
Last summer, Metro Vancouver was put under an air-quality advisory for nearly two weeks, when it was socked-in by a thick blanket of wildfire smoke from fires in B.C.’s interior.
It was the longest such advisory since the region began using its advisory system in the 1970s.
However, across B.C., more than two dozen regions did find themselves under such advisories on Friday.
Some, such as the Thompson, 100 Mile and Fraser Canyon regions were also under heat warnings.
You can find a full map of Environment Canada warnings and advisories for B.C. here.
Smoky skies advisories are issued when wildfire smoke is impacting or is expected to impact a community within 24 to 48 hours.
They are based on satellite information, smoke forecast models, visual observations and available information on pollutant concentrations.
Children, seniors and people with respiratory illnesses or health concerns are advised to remain indoors when such an advisory is in place, and to use air-conditioning where possible.
Anyone who is having problems breathing, or notices chest pain or persistent coughing, should contact their health-care provider.
You can find more information about protecting yourself in smoky conditions here.
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