Metro Vancouver remains under an air quality advisory Monday, though smoke levels are expected to be lower in the region.
The fine particulate matter advisory has been in effect since September 8 for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District due to wildfire smoke from Washington and Oregon moving north into B.C.
The special air quality statement is in effect for:
- Metro Vancouver - NE
- Metro Vancouver - NW
- Metro Vancouver - SE
- Metro Vancouver - SW
"Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility," according to Environment Canada, which renewed the advisory late Sunday night.
While the region will likely have less smoke overall in the air Monday, "localized smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes," notes the weather agency.
Metro Vancouver currently has an Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) ranking of 10, or Very High, which indicates members of the at-risk population, including the elderly and children, should avoid strenuous activities and physical exertion outdoors. Members of the general population are advised to reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
Exposure to fine particulate matter 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.
However, Monday also marks the first full day of in-class instruction for many young students across the region. Locally, the Vancouver School Board announced Sunday that schools will be in session Monday.
"Should the current compromised air quality continue, vigorous activities like planned Physical Education classes outdoors, will not take place. In addition, students who are sensitive to smoke will be allowed to remain indoors during breaks. Exterior windows and doors will also be kept closed," explains the VSB. Further, the district's COVID-19 safety measures will be in place, and parents are reminded to perform daily health checks before sending their children to campus.