Air-quality readings are off the chart in parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley as smoke from B.C. wildfires heads south.
On Monday morning, the northeast and northwest parts of Metro Vancouver, and the eastern Fraser Valley had an Air Quality Health Index rating of 10-plus, which is classified as very high risk.
“Unfortunately, the wind direction changed and what we’re seeing now is the air coming in from the Interior… which is bringing lots of smoke with it.” Metro Vancouver air quality planner Julie Saxton said.
Health officials are advising people to reduce or completely avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Children and the elderly should avoid outdoor physical activity altogether.
Smoky conditions are expected to persist into Tuesday with some clearing on Wednesday when a westerly flow will clear things up later in the week, according to Global BC’s chief meteorologist Mark Madryga.
“Thursday and Friday look a lot fresher as a westerly flow kicks in and steers the smoke to the east,” he said.
Air quality has deteriorated across the province as more than 500 wildfires burn across British Columbia.
Areas such as Squamish, Whistler, Nanaimo/Parksville and Castlegar also have a 10-plus air-quality rating.
The thick smoke has put a bit of a damper on what’s expected to be one of the busiest weeks for the province’s tourism industry.
Two cruise ships berthed in Vancouver on Monday, bringing a combined 4,700 visitors who may be not be able to fully take in the sights the city has to offer.