Metro Vancouver experienced some of its worst air quality in the past five years in September, when smoke from U.S. wildfires blew into the region.
With unprecedented levels of burning in Washington, Oregon and California, the region’s air quality reached the “very high health risk” category, as measured by the Air Quality Health Index, for all parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Metro Vancouver operates a comprehensive network of air quality monitoring stations from Horseshoe Bay to Hope and issues air quality advisories based on the data it collects. Metro Vancouver issued 14 days of advisories this year.
This month’s conditions were similar to wildfire smoke experienced in 2017 and 2018, when more forested area was burned in B.C. than ever before. Poor air quality is especially noticeable because Metro Vancouver usually has some of the best air quality in the world.
Climate projections for the region indicate that the region will have hotter, drier and longer summers, which increases the likelihood of wildfires and smoky conditions like the ones experienced this month.
Our climate action strategy, Climate 2050, is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and to create a carbon neutral region by 2050.
Check out Metro Vancouver’s AirMap to find the latest air quality conditions.
Learn more about wildfire smoke and air quality.