Air quality advisory remains in place over Metro Vancouver

Sep 16 2020, 9:02 am

Metro Vancouver’s air quality advisory continues for the ninth consecutive day.

Environment Canada has issued a “special air quality statement” in effect for:

  • Metro Vancouver – NE
  • Metro Vancouver – NW
  • Metro Vancouver – SE
  • Metro Vancouver – SW

The weather agency says that “wildfire smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon continues to persist in the region.”

The advisory has been in place since September 8 for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“Air quality has improved slightly overnight but ground-level smoke still remains and is expected to remain through the week,” says Environment Canada. “A weather system forecast for Friday may bring further improvements in air quality through the weekend.”

Residents are also being advised to listen to the advice of Fraser Health and City of New Westminster officials, as the fire at Pier Park “continues to burn, producing noticeable smoke.”

Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (µm) or less. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of its small size.

Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but rather it is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

“Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring,” noted Environment Canada.

In the meantime, anyone with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections such as COVID-19 is advised to postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity until the advisory is lifted, “especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.”

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