Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory for Eastern Fraser Valley due to particulate matter from wildfires south of the border.
Multiple municipalities are affected, including Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison and Hope.
Wildfire smoke, high humidity and low wind speeds contribute to high concentrations of fine particulate matter and hazy skies. The wildfire in Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam – currently being held – may also contribute to the air quality issues.
Stagnant weather conditions for the next few days means the air quality may not improve immediately.
Fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, refers to “airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less,” according to Metro Vancouver. The matter’s small size means it can easily enter indoors.
Metro Vancouver urges the public to limit or postpone outdoor physical activities, particularly if breathing becomes uncomfortable. Exposure to the fine particulate matter is a concern for those living with lung disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, diabetes, individuals with respiratory infections, pregnant women, infants, children, older adults and those who work outdoors. Houseless or underhoused people are also at risk.
door spaces with HEPA air filtration and air conditioning can offer relief. It’s important to keep cool and hydrated, particularly as hot conditions persist.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, seek prompt medical attention. Call 911 in the case of an emergency.