Wildfire smoke: Metro Vancouver forecast includes air quality update

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Top Ten Weather Stories / wildfire smoke
BC Wildfire Service/Facebook

“Get prepared for wildfire smoke events before they happen.”

The message from Metro Vancouver is clear: residents of the Lower Mainland should have a plan in place for wildfire smoke events before they happen. And, sadly, the wildfire season started early in Western Canada this year. In fact, haze from the wildfires in Northern Alberta has already drifted into the Lower Mainland.

With this mind, Environment Canada notes that Metro Vancouver’s current air quality isn’t at an alarming level. However, these conditions may change at any time, and rapidly. And, since last year was B.C.’s worst wildfire season to date, locals are concerned that this summer may be just as bad, if not worse.

Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Doug Lundquist, Meteorologist, Environment Canada, who explained how the forecast may affect air quality in Metro Vancouver.

“While there was a higher concentration of fine particulate matter in the region yesterday, current conditions are at a Level 2, which is considered Low on the Air Quality Health Index,” he described.

“Furthermore, we are expecting the flow to move smoke away from the region, and the weekend forecast calls for clear skies. Following this, next week’s forecast calls for a cooler pattern, and possibly some rain.”

Lundquist states that conditions have to worsen substantially to have a serious impact on health, too.

“Currently, the Lower Mainland is considered Low-Risk. Low-Risk is Level 1,2, and 3 on the Index. There is more concern once the index reaches a level 4, or moderate-risk.”

Lundquist adds that Kamloops is currently at a Level 4, which may affect some at-risk populations. Under this level, the Air Quality Health Index advises that at-risk populations should, “Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms.”

Find out if you are at risk here.

Metro Vancouver Weather Forecast

Wildfire smoke
Environment Canada

On Thursday, May 9 15 weather records were broken across the province and Squamish reached a sizzling high of 29.5°C. On the following day, Friday, May 10, a whopping 26 weather records were broken across B.C. and Pitt Meadows reached a toasty high of 29.3°C.

Environment Canada has also stated that the presence of a weak El Niño will affect temperatures heading into summer. As such, the department expects that the province will see above average temperatures this summer.