Chilliwack residents were breathing a little easier on Tuesday after nearly three days of poor air quality.
The air quality advisory that had been in place for the eastern Fraser Valley since Sunday was lifted Tuesday morning by Metro Vancouver.
Smoke from wildfires in Washington State began blowing into the area on Saturday. At one point the conditions prompted a report that a small fire was burning east of Lindell Beach near Cultus Lake. That report was later proved false, however smoke continued to increase on Sunday.
Within 24-hour period the air quality index climbed from the lowest level 1, to five, meaning “moderate health risk.”
Elevated fine particulate matter in the air prompted warnings for people with chronic underlying medical conditions to stay inside and postpone strenuous exercise. Of particular concern were infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
However, changing wind conditions Tuesday helped blow the smoke out of the region and clear the air.
Those winds have helped carry smoke as far away as central Alberta, were air quality advisories were issued for Calgary and other centres.
This is the second time this summer that forest fires have generated air quality advisories in Chilliwack.
Fires continue to burn in Washington, with the largest totaling more than 1,000 square kilometres, making it the largest fire in the state’s history.
Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment Canada, the Fraser Valley Regional District and B.C. Ministry of Environment to look after air quality. Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at www.airmap.ca and www.bcairquality.ca