As B.C. burns, air quality remains poor for much of province, including Metro Vancouver

As smoky skies from the wildfires burning throughout B.C. persist, air quality remains poor throughout much of the province, including in Metro Vancouver — but some regions have seen a reprieve.

According to the B.C. air quality data map, Nanaimo, southwest Metro Vancouver, southeast Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley had a 10+ rating as of 8 a.m. PT. Tuesday, indicating a very high health risk.

At this risk level, people are recommended to reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. 

In a release, Metro Vancouver also issued a warning to people who are particularly vulnerable to the smoke.

"Be aware of people who should take extra care, including anyone with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, as well as pregnant women, infants, young children, and the elderly," it read in part.

If the AQHI index has increased to 7 (high health risk), it is usually because of high concentrations of smoke particles in the area. (Government of British Columbia)

According to the map, shades of red indicate a high health risk , shades of orange and yellow indicate a moderate health risk, and shades of blue indicate a low health risk.

Reprieve for some communities

Further north and east, Fort St. John, Kamloops and Williams Lake all currently have a low risk rating.

High pressure has pulled smoke away from the Interior towards the coast, and continues to trap smoke at the surface, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

An approaching front from the northwest will begin to flatten the high-pressure system beginning on Wednesday, although a new westerly flow may actually enhance smoke across B.C.'s Interior and Alberta.

But relief could come by Thursday, as a front tracking through much of B.C. could bring scattered showers, cooler temperatures and the potential for thunderstorms.


Heat temperatures broken

Despite the layer of smoke blocking some of the sun's heat, seven temperature records were broken across the province on Monday.

Temperatures in Squamish climbed to 35 C, and 33 C in Abbotsford and Agassiz.


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