Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack looking eerie at 7 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2020, with visibility obscured due to poor air quality due to dangerously high levels of smoke particles. (Jennifer Feinberg/Chilliwack Progress)

Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack looking eerie at 7 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2020, with visibility obscured due to poor air quality due to dangerously high levels of smoke particles. (Jennifer Feinberg/Chilliwack Progress)

Lower Mainland hoping for relief from blanket of smoke that has covered the region

Air quality to start improving but smoke concentrations will vary depending on winds and temperature

Air quality and smoke levels are expected to start improving slightly today in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland but the actual smoke concentrations will vary widely depending on wind currents.

Valleys tend to trap pollutants more than more open areas, and the current alert has been in place since Sept. 8.

“Smoke levels on Monday are expected to be lower,” according to the Metro Vancouver alert of Sept. 13. “However, localized smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.”

Poor air quality and reduced visibility were still the story early on Sept. 14, as the entire Lower Mainland region continues to be blanketed in smoke particles from fires raging in Washington, and Oregon.

The problem with the air quality is the fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, pose a very high health risk because of the airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less. PM2.5 can get indoors because of its small size and penetrate the lungs.

Anyone with chronic medical conditions or acute infections such as COVID-19 know by this point they should postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity. 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 such as COVID-19, pregnant women and infants, children, and older adults. Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at elevated risk.

To see updates with real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley www.airmap.ca and http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html

READ MORE: Region’s air quality is up there with the worst

READ MOREL: Satellite tracks the smoke


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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