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Metro Vancouver issues warning over air quality concerns

Asks residents to refrain from burning wood and setting off fireworks
Metro Vancouver Friday issued an air quality bulletin for the weekend. File photo Dan Toulgoet

Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality bulletin due to expected “intermittent high concentrations of fine particulate matter” over the weekend and is asking residents to minimize wood burning activities and the use of fireworks.

The bulletin sent out Friday afternoon, states that while air quality is currently fair, a stagnant weather pattern over the weekend “will bring temperature inversions and light winds, especially in the evening and overnight, causing fine particulate matter emitted by sources in our region to build up.”

Metro Vancouver issues air quality bulletins when air pollution levels are expected to be elevated but don’t yet exceed levels that warrant an air quality advisory.

“Bulletins are used to encourage emission reductions and ensure that those sensitive to degraded air quality are informed,” the statement reads.

Fall and winter weather conditions can lead to poor dispersion of air pollutants, causing emissions from local sources such as vehicles, wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor burning to significantly impact fine particulate matter levels in neighbourhoods.

“Users should minimize wood burning activities and the use of fireworks until weather conditions improve.”

People with chronic underlying medical conditions should consider postponing strenuous exercise until the bulletin is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women and infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes and lung or heart disease.

Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, and potential health impacts, can be found online here and here.