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Noticing smoke or haze in Metro Vancouver? You’re not alone.

VANCOUVER — Air quality advisories are in effect for much of British Columbia due to drifting wildfire smoke, and many in Metro Vancouver are noticing it in the area.

A “smoky skies bulletin” was issued for parts of the province by Environment Canada Tuesday. The weather agency said smoke drifting north from the United States is impacting air quality in parts of B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

Additionally, there’s been an impact on parts of Vancouver Island, the Kootenays and the Boundary region.

Air quality statements have been issued for the following areas:

  • Arrow Lakes-Slocan Lake
  • Boundary
  • East and West Kootenay
  • East, Inland and West Vancouver Island
  • Fraser Valley
  • Greater Victoria
  • Howe Sound
  • Kootenay Lake
  • Metro Vancouver
  • Okanagan Valley
  • Similkameen
  • Southern Gulf Islands
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Whistler

Initially there were no alerts from Environment Canada for the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas, but the agency issued statements shortly before 2 p.m. for both regions.

Metro Vancouver officials said the smoke is coming from Washington, Oregon and California, and was expected to continue to do so throughout the day.

“Current air quality is changing rapidly,” the region said in a message on Twitter.

An advisory was issued in the afternoon due to a high concentration of fine particulate matter due to the fires south of the border.

Exactly which parts of Metro Vancouver will be most affected remains to be seen.

“Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes,” the advisory said.

Anyone with chronic underlying medical conditions or infections including COVID-19 is advised to reduce their time outdoors until the advisory is lifted.

Additionally, Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement over warm temperatures expected in Metro Vancouver this week.

In a post on social media, B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority wrote that smoke can have a negative effect on the immune system.

“It can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, and alter immune function, making it much more difficult to fight respiratory infections such as COVID-19,” PHSA posted on Instagram.

Citing the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, PHSA offered the following tips:

  • Use a portable air cleaner;
  • Use air conditioners, heat pumps, evaporative coolers, fans and window shades;
  • If you have forced air, talk to your service provider about filters;
  • Plan ahead using B.C.’s Asthma Prediction System; and
  • Avoid activities that can add to the air pollution, such as frying foods, vacuuming and using gas-powered appliances.

The smoky sky over Surrey is seen in a photo from CTV News Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

The Vancouver skyline is seen from a camera atop the Shangri-La on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

The Vancouver skyline is seen on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.

Air quality advisories are in effect for much of British Columbia due to drifting wildfire smoke, and many in Metro Vancouver are noticing it in the area.

Vancouverites share snaps of hazy skies from U.S. wildfire smoke (PHOTOS)

Environment Canada’s forecast calls for a week of sunshine and soaring temperatures in the Lower Mainland, but wildfire smoke from south of the border is causing poor air quality in Vancouver.

And while the skies weren’t nearly as hazy as they were a couple of weeks ago, locals captured images of the poor air quality early Wednesday morning.

The federal weather forecasting department hasn’t issued an air quality advisory, but as of Wednesday, Sept. 30 at noon, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is listed as moderate, which means that the air quality is acceptable, not good. As a result, some pollutants in the air may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that the smoke is expected to remain through the weekend. Find out more about the, here.

Have a look at some photos from earlier today.

Wildfire smoke has arrived and is making for a unique glimpse of the sun in the sky. @NEWS1130Weather #newwest pic.twitter.com/VAXL15udch

With the smoke returning to Vancouver today remember to use a filter to keep particulates out of your lungs while cycling. pic.twitter.com/2W72tTcgvH

And once we can see the firery sun rise, we be like “yup, smoke has definitely arrived!” pic.twitter.com/M58ap7jqYo

Patchy fog in low lying areas; haze from CA fires aloft this AM #YVR. The general pattern features high pressure and subsidence thru Fri. Some stratus/fog forms over the Georgia basin Thu AM but mixes out; smoke aloft and Jet stream cirrus Thu will make the day a bit opaque. Mild pic.twitter.com/ldRkhcNaG1

A little smoke back in the Vancouver skies this morning from those U-S wildfires. But relieved to see the blue skies back this afternoon, at least where I am. pic.twitter.com/yr5H9ym1zH

Side by side showing how difficult it can be to determine the extent of #smoke & #haze pre-dawn vs after #sunrise. The veil of smoke is aloft, but it is widespread across the BC South Coast now. So far #AirQuality remains good around Metro #Vancouver. pic.twitter.com/jFvoeWNrwN

Earlier this month, Metro Vancouver continued a fine particulate matter advisory for 10 days for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District due to wildfire smoke from outside the region.

If you’re feeling unwell these days, your first thought might be to get tested for the novel coronavirus. However, wildfires burning south of the border have created poor air quality in the Lower Mainland, which can cause a range of health effects. Find out how to tell the difference between symptoms, here.

Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.