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Widespread smoke leads to air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

Air quality forecast for Friday calls for ‘moderate risk except high risk in smoke’
The sun is seen through thick wildfire smoke in Chilliwack on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. On Friday (Aug. 25), the BC. Air Quality Health Index observed moderate risk conditions in the Fraser Valley with ‘moderate risk except high risk in smoke’ expected throughout the day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Widespread smoke and hazy skies will continue to impact air quality in the Lower Mainland on Friday (Aug. 25).

Environment Canada issued an air quality statement for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley with smoke expected to cause poor air quality and reduced visibility.

The advisory comes because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to smoke from wildfires burning throughout the province.

“Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures, and wildfire behaviour change,” the statement reads.

Metro Vancouver Regional District says the advisory will remain in effect until further notice. The high concentration of particulate matter is expected to last until there is a change in the weather.

According to B.C.’s Air Quality Health Index, conditions in the Eastern Fraser Valley were observed at eight on its scale, which is deemed high risk.

The Central Fraser Valley and most Metro Vancouver regions were observed between five and six on Friday — both considered moderate risks. Metro Vancouver (Southwest) was observed as low risk at three.

Through Friday, air quality is expected to stay at “moderate risk except high risk in smoke”. Environment Canada forecasts a mix of sun and cloud with a 30 per cent chance of showers in the afternoon and a risk of a thunderstorm.

Temperatures are expected to reach highs of 30 degrees on Saturday and Sunday with local smoke lingering in the skies. Air quality conditions are predicted to stay in the moderate risk range on the weekend, according to the Air Quality Health Index.

The statement advises the population to postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity while fine particulate matter and ozone concentrations are high, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.

Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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