The air in the eastern Fraser Valley was relentlessly smoky throughout Thursday (Oct. 13).
Metro Vancover has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison and Hope.
The air quality issues stem mainly from wildfires southeast of Chilliwack (near Chilliwack Lake), near Hope, near Harrison Lake and across the boarder in Washington State. These fires created hazy conditions across Metro Vancouver and the rest of the Fraser Valley as well.
Fine particulate matter concentrations are currently below advisory thresholds. However, due to stagnant weather conditions, conditions are expected to persist at least for the next few days. Air quality may not change until there’s significant changes in weather conditions. Smoke concentrations may very widely throughout the region, depending on winds, temperature and wildfire behaviour.
Fine particulate matter refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less. These particles can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.
Metro Vancouver urges the public to limit or postpone outdoor physical activities, particularly if breathing becomes uncomfortable. Exposure to the fine particulate matter is a concern for those living with lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, diabetes, individuals with respiratory infections, pregnant women, infants, children, older adults and those who work outdoors. Houseless or underhoused people are also at risk.
Indoor spaces with HEPA air filtration and air conditioning can offer relief. It’s important to keep cool and hydrated, particularly as hot conditions persist.
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.