Air Quality Advisory Continues for Some Fraser Valley Communities

September 15, 2022

The Air Quality Advisory issued September 10 remains in effect for the Eastern Fraser Valley, which includes the communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz, and Hope, because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter, primarily due to smoke from wildfires burning in BC, Washington and Oregon, including the Flood Falls Trail wildfire burning near Hope. Smoke concentrations may vary widely as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.

The Air Quality Advisory for fine particulate matter has ended for Metro Vancouver and the Central Fraser Valley.  Air quality has gradually improved but local haze is likely to persist through September 15. A more substantial change in the weather is forecast to occur on Friday (September 16) and will further improve air quality. While the advisory has ended for portions of the airshed, fine particulate matter concentrations are still somewhat elevated. 

How Can Poor Air Quality Affect You

Anyone experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing should seek prompt medical attention. In the case of an emergency, call 911.

Exposure to PM2.5 is particularly a concern for:

  • people with underlying conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including bronchitis and emphysema, as well as asthma, and/or diabetes
  • people with respiratory infections
  • pregnant women and infants
  • children
  • older adults
  • outdoor workers (e.g. construction and agricultural workers)
  • people who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk (e.g. people who are experiencing homelessness or are under housed).

People at risk should postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity while PM2.5 and ozone concentrations are high, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable. Indoor spaces with HEPA air filtration and air conditioning can offer relief from both air pollution and heat. Set up a clean air space in your home if possible by running a portable HEPA air cleaner in one or more rooms, or visit a public building with air conditioning (e.g., community centre, library, mall, etc.).

What is Fine Particulate Matter

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

The Fraser Valley Regional District and Metro Vancouver work in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, and B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to look after air quality.

Learn more:

Sign up for air quality alerts in your area

See the Metro Vancouver advisory