Air Quality Advisory Expanded to Entire Fraser Valley
October 14, 2022
The Air Quality Advisory that was issued on October 13 for the Eastern Fraser Valley has been expanded to cover the entire Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter, primarily due to smoke from wildfires burning southeast of Chilliwack (near Chilliwack Lake), near Hope, near Harrison Lake, and in Washington. Eastern parts of the Fraser Valley that are closer to most of the wildfires may experience greater smoke impacts compared to western parts of Metro Vancouver.
Smoke from the Eagle Ridge wildfire on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver is contributing to hazy conditions already being experienced in Metro Vancouver due to smoke from wildfires in BC and Washington.
Stagnant weather conditions are forecast to persist for at least the next few days and it is expected that air quality may not change until there is a more significant change in the weather. Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.
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.
How Poor Air Quality Can Affect You
Postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity while PM2.5 concentrations are high, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable. Exposure to PM2.5 is particularly a concern for people with underlying conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and/or diabetes; individuals with respiratory infections; pregnant women and infants; children; older adults; and outdoor workers (e.g. construction and agricultural workers). Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk (e.g. people who are experiencing homelessness or are underhoused).
Indoor spaces with HEPA air filtration and air conditioning can offer relief from both air pollution and heat. Consider setting up a clean air space in your home by running a portable HEPA air cleaner in one or more rooms or visiting a public building with air conditioning (e.g., community centre, library, mall, etc.). As we are in the summer season with warm temperatures, it is also important to stay cool and hydrated. If it is hot, also consider using a portable air conditioner to keep your indoor space comfortable (if you do not have central air conditioning).
If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, seek prompt medical attention. Call 911 in the case of an emergency.
Read the Metro Vancouver media release.
- Fact sheets on the health effects of wildfire smoke and information on how to reduce exposures, such as using air filtration, can be found at www.bccdc.ca/health-info/prevention-public-health/wildfire-smoke.
- Sign up for Alertable to receive air quality notifications.
- Information about real-time air quality readings and potential health impacts can be found at www.airmap.ca and www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html.
- Check out the FVRD’s Air Quality Management Plan to learn about important air challenges we face in our region and how you can help.
- To sign up for air quality alerts in your area, go to www.metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality/engagement/mailing-list.
Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fraser Valley Regional District and BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to look after air quality.