Wellington Avenue, Chilliwack, on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 at just before 7 a.m. (Jennifer Feinberg/Chilliwack Progress)

Slightly better air quality is what the Fraser Valley woke up to

But ground-level smoke still remains and is expected to remain through the week

Better air quality is what some people in the Fraser Valley woke up to on Wednesday.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) forecasts from Environment Canada for Sept. 16 are predicting widespread smoke to persist across the eastern Fraser Valley and the region, but the AQHI rating was ‘moderate’ (4) early in the morning from Abbotsford to Hope, as opposed to ‘very high health risk’ (10+) of the past several days.

“Air quality has improved slightly overnight but ground-level smoke still remains and is expected to remain through the week,” according to the Sept. 16 update from EC.

But Friday’s weather, including rain in the forecast, may bring further improvements to air quality over the weekend.

In the valley, smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes.

Poor air quality and smoky skies were still the story this week as the entire Lower Mainland region continues to be blanketed in smoke from fires that had been 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 check levels of individual air quality monitoring stations in the EFV check here.

READ MORE: The LM hoping for relief from smoke

READ MORE: Region’s AQ up there with the worst


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


@CHWKjourno
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