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VIDEO: Wildfire smoke wafting into Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland

Smoke harmful for anyone with existing respiratory illness or other chronic conditions

The smoke from wildfires is arriving.

Most of the Fraser Valley has had relatively clear skies so far with the spate of wildfires in the Interior but that is set to shift with the wind direction on Friday, July 30, according to smoke forecasting models.

According to the BlueSky Canada Smoke Forecasting System at the University of British Columbia, the high level plumes of smoke from the Interior fires will waft into the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver along with high temperatures for the weekend.

Smoke forecasts at are produced during the wildfire season, April to September.

“Transported wildfire smoke can sometimes be trapped in upper layers of the air, causing visual impacts despite air quality measurements on the ground remaining good,” according to Fraser Valley Regional District’s wildfire smoke info.

The air quality health index (AQHI) for the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland was still in the ‘low’ range for air pollutants on Friday as the smoke was expected to drift in over the weekend.

Since smoke can be harmful for anyone with existing respiratory illness or other chronic conditions as well as pregnant women, infants, young children and the elderly, who are more vulnerable, it makes sense to limit exposure, and keep an eye out for advisories and warnings from Environment Canada. The public can watch for local air quality alerts here.

Fraser Health has been warning the public both heat and smoke can pose serious health risks.

“Although our region has historically been temperate, we are in some ways less prepared for extreme events than traditionally hotter areas of the province - and therefore at risk,” according to Fraser Health.

Each year residents, particularly our most marginalized, die due to extreme heat-related events.

“Summer heat can pose serious health risks to people experiencing homelessness or living in precarious housing, especially those with pre-existing heart, lung, or mental health conditions.”

RELATED: Until recently smoky skies in the west were rare

RELATED: Smoke can be trapped in upper layers of air

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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