Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage in north
By The Canadian Press
May 9, 2017
VANCOUVER — Air quality was lower in the downtown core of Metro Vancouver Tuesday evening as a series of wildfires spread across the region.
The National Air Quality Monitoring Service reported Monday that air quality in Vancouver was “moderate” to “severe.” The service’s website shows the concentration of fine particulate matter — a key measure of air pollution — was 10 to 50 micrograms per cubic metre Monday in Downtown Eastside and Richmond, and 6 to 15 micrograms per cubic metre in Downtown Vancouver, at times better than the provincial limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre.
The city advised residents living south of the Fraser River to limit outdoor activity in view of the ongoing wildfire threat.
The city said in a news release that the wildfires began at about 9 a.m. CST Sunday and ended at 1 a.m. on Monday.
The city reported firefighting crews, air-supply aircrafts and local fire crews and fire suppression equipment worked to put out the fires.
While smoke from the fires has dissipated, Vancouver’s air quality could still be affected by a wildfire that is still burning south of the Fraser River.
“All the smoke still being out, we have to be mindful of that as well,” said Dave LeNeveu, who oversees air quality for the city.
“It could still be a factor. We’re certainly monitoring both at that time of the day, and also throughout the day as well. We haven’t received any updates on any additional sites, unfortunately.”
But LeNeveu said the air quality is improving at the present time, with a forecast for a return to safe levels this weekend.
Last week saw three of the worst wildfires in BC history. The fires forced the cancellation of several flights and prompted Mayor Gregor Robertson to issue an emergency declaration in Burnaby.
A total of six people have died in BC fires this year, including two members of the same family.
BC’s Environment Minister George Heyman said Monday that the wildfire threats are likely going to impact provincial air quality.
“I’m quite confident that the government has done everything it can