Air quality in B.C.’s Fraser Valley off the charts due to thick wildfire smoke

Click to play video: 'Wildfire smoke keeps Lower Mainland air quality advisory in place'
Wildfire smoke keeps Lower Mainland air quality advisory in place
Wildfire smoke continues to cover much of the Lower Mainland with air in the Fraser Valley being deemed a very high health risk. Catherine Urquhart has details on where all the smoke is coming from and when the air might start to clear up. – Oct 18, 2022

Residents in the central and eastern Fraser Valley continue to deal with the worst air quality in Metro Vancouver Tuesday.

“In Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley we’re experiencing widespread smoke,” Geoff Doerksen, air quality planner with Metro Vancouver, told Global News.

The air quality rating in those areas is 10-plus, the worst on the AirMap scale.

The Air Quality Health Index measures the health risk that people are experiencing when they are breathing the air, Doerksen explained.

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“A 10-plus is certainly the higher end of the scale and that’s certainly a concern for pregnant women, the elderly, young children and infants as well.”

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Click to play video: 'Air quality advisory now issued for eastern Fraser Valley'
Air quality advisory now issued for eastern Fraser Valley

The smoke is caused by a complex of wildfires burning southeast of Chilliwack and Hope both in Canada and the U.S. They are causing the smoke to be really thick and stuck in the Fraser Valley.

“We don’t have airflow to move that smoke out of the region right now,” Doerksen said.

He added there should be improvement in air quality on Thursday and a significant improvement by Friday.

“Really what we’re seeing is the effects of this really hot, dry summer and that’s translating to more active wildfires continuing longer in the season,” Doerksen said.

People are advised to avoid strenuous activity outside and use an air filtration system, if possible.

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