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Heat-related air quality advisory issued for Fraser Valley

Current AQ is low risk, but it’s expected to nudge up to moderate risk this evening and overnight
High temperatures are contributing to an air quality advisory issued for the eastern Fraser Valley (File photo)

Smoke from a wildfire near Mission is contributing to bad air quality in the Fraser Valley, and an advisory is currently in effect.

Metro Vancouver Regional District says a plume of smoke from the Davis Lake fire is contributing to hazy conditions in the northeast part of the region, and high concentrations of ground-level ozone caused by scorching hot temperatures are contributing to the problem.

As of 3 p.m. Monday (May 15) the AQ reading was 3, which qualifies as low risk. But it’s forecast to get up to five, which is moderate risk. Anything seven-and-higher is considered high risk.

The air quality advisory will remain in effect until further notice, with a recommendation to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.

The advisory notes that exposure is a larger concern for people with underlying conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including bronchitis and emphysema, and other lung diseases, heart diseases, and/or diabetes. People with respiratory infections, pregnant people, infants and children, older adults and outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable.

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“Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at higher risk,” the advisory notes. “Overheating is more dangerous for most people at risk, and both cool and clean air are important.”

For people with chronic underlying medical conditions, the following measures are recommended:

• Stay in cool, air-conditioned environments, especially during the afternoon when ground-level ozone levels are at their highest, and reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking and vacuuming.

• Consider creating a comfortable space at home with a portable air conditioner if you do not have central air conditioning.

• Consider taking shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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