VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With air quality in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley expected to finally begin getting better on Friday, you may have found yourself looking back on the summer of 2015, when we were under a similar notice.
— Danger On Air (@DangerOnAir) August 9, 2017
Metro Vancouver Air Quality Analyst Kyle Howe says this is the longest continuous air quality advisory issued by the agency. However, he adds peak concentrations of fine particulate matter were higher two years ago. “One thing that we did see in the 2015 wildfire event is that the area is experiencing higher particulate concentrations for mostly the western portions of the region. And in this event, it’s actually been the eastern portions of the region that have seen some of the higher PM concentrations.”
Meantime, weather patterns have not changed and the winds have not shifted as smoke from wildfires in other parts of the province continues to drift towards the South Coast. What this means for you is a continued hazy, smoky sky as the air quality advisory for both Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley lasts another day because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter.
Forecasters have their fingers crossed for some rain by this Saturday night, however the temperatures are expected to continue to stay pretty warm. “If you’re getting accustomed to this mid-summer mini heatwave, it’s going to hang on for a little while longer yet. The temperature is still several degrees above average by West Coast standards which is 30 degrees inland and 25 by the shoreline for this afternoon. That’s after the fog patches lift,” explains NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate.
People with underlying health conditions and the very young or very old should limit their time outside.
Click here to check the air quality of the region in real-time.
Many fires sparked by people
The province says more than one-third of wildfires burning across BC this year were sparked by people.
Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says 928 fires have started since April 1st and about 500 of those have been confirmed to be naturally caused, while another 364 were human caused.
Campfires have been banned across much of the province and off-road vehicles are currently prohibited in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres in a bid to prevent new fires from starting.
Skrepnek says lightning and tinder-dry conditions led to more than two dozen new wildfires starting across the province over the last two days.