According to a news statement from the Metro Vancouver district, wildfires burning in British Columbia and Washington state have resulted in an air quality advisory for metro Vancouver.
The smoke is contributing to high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the area, which pose the greatest risk to health, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Citizens in Canada have been urged to “delay or restrict outdoor physical activity while PM 2.5 concentrations are high, especially if breathing is difficult.”
According to the press release, fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. According to the US EPA, that is 30 times smaller than the diameter of human hair. According to the press release, PM 2.5’s modest size makes it simple to enter buildings.
Stagnant weather conditions are forecast to persist for at least the next few days, according to Vancouver officials, meaning the air quality is also not likely to change.
“Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behavior changes,” the Metro Vancouver press release said.
In Washington, there are currently nine active wildfires, according to a Northwest Interagency Coordination Center bulletin on Friday. This includes the 40%-contained Cedar Creek Fire. Since it started on August 1, it has burned 122,794 acres, according to the Incident Information System.
There is also smoke from a wildfire on Cypress Mountain, a popular ski area in West Vancouver, “contributing to hazy conditions already being experienced in Metro Vancouver,” said the press release.
According to a Metro Vancouver water conservation notice, due to the exceptionally warm and dry weather, lawn watering restrictions have been extended from Saturday until October 31 in order to better save the area’s drinking water.