It says a high concentration of fine particulate matter from B.C.’s wildfires is the culprit again.
“Despite cool and damp weather yesterday and today, smoke from wildfires both within and outside the region has moved into all parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley,” reads a release by the regional district. ” Elevated levels of fine particulate matter are expected to persist until there is a change in weather or fire conditions.”
Metro Vancouver warns that people with lung conditions should be extra careful and avoid strenuous exercise.
Air quality advisories for Metro Vancouver and the Central Fraser Valley were rescinded on Friday, but remained in effect for other parts of the Valley.
Where is smoke coming from?
Francis Ries, senior project engineer with Metro Vancouver’s air quality and climate change division, says that smoke from Vancouver Island fires became “embedded” in the colder weather masses and moved into the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas overnight.
“Yesterday around the time that the rain started, we started to see fine particulate levels around our monitoring stations start to rise,” Ries says.
“We monitored that closely through the day yesterday, didn’t see any exceedances of our advisory threshold during the day. However in the overnight period we have started to see almost all of our monitoring stations throughout the whole Valley are now exceeding our air quality advisory threshold for fine particulate matter.
He adds the level of smoke is currently considerably lower than what Vancouver saw last week. “Right now, the levels that we are seeing are only a little bit above our advisory threshold,” he says.
Ries expects the current weather to be “unsettled,” mean air flows coming into the area will be from different directions.
“It’s less likely that we are going to consistently have air coming from a particular fire zone for a long period of time, so we’re hopeful that this particular advisory will be less long-lasting,” Ries says.
-With files from Taran Parmar