Air Quality Advisory Issued

October 4, 2022

An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for the Eastern Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter, primarily due to smoke from wildfires burning southeast of Chilliwack (near Chilliwack Lake), near Hope, and in Washington State. Smoke from the wildfires is impacting multiple municipalities, including Agassiz, Chilliwack, and Hope.

Wildfire smoke, high humidity, and low winds are contributing to elevated concentrations of fine particulate matter and hazy conditions in other parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, although concentrations are below advisory thresholds. The wildfire burning in Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam is now being held, but may contribute to these hazy conditions.

Stagnant weather conditions are forecast to persist for 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.

What To Do During An Air Advisory

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 case of an emergency.

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.

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