Ground-level smoke may remain "until later this week": Environment Canada

Sep 15 2020, 8:05 am

Metro Vancouver’s air quality advisory continues for its eighth consecutive day.

Environment Canada has issued a “special weather 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.

“The forecast indicates a slight improvement in air quality today but ground-level smoke will remain, and possibly until later this week,” says Environment Canada. “Local smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.”

On Saturday, as well as Monday, Vancouver was temporarily ranked as having the worst air quality in the world when compared to major cities.

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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