The heat wave hitting B.C. this week is raising air quality concerns in the eastern Fraser Valley.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is only at a two as of 4 p.m. on July 26, which is a ‘low risk’ rating. But it’s expected to get worse, hitting a four later today and getting up to five tomorrow. Both of those numbers are considered ‘moderate risk,’ with high concentrations of ground-level ozone expected throughout the week.
Abbotsford is already in the four range and is expected to hit five tomorrow.
“A plume of wildfire smoke from the Nohomin Creek fire near Lytton, B.C. is currently contributing to hazy conditions over the region but there has been no significant impact on measured fine particulate matter concentrations at ground-level,” a Metro Vancouver air quality advisory suggests.
People are encouraged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing begins to feel uncomfortable. The advisory suggests exposure is particularly concerning for people with underlying conditions such as lung and heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes and respiratory infections.
It can be particularly challenging for pregnant women and infants, children, older adults and people working outdoors.
Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fraser Valley Regional District and BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to look after air quality.
For AQHI readings in the eastern Fraser Valley, visit env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html