When the temperatures rise and skies get smoky during wildfire season, Metro Vancouver has a dedicated team of experts ready to alert the public to changes to air quality.
Metro Vancouver operates an air quality advisory service for the entire Lower Fraser Valley airshed, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District. It relies on data from a comprehensive network of air quality monitoring stations.
The service is most concerned with two air contaminants: ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. Ground-level ozone is produced when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds react in sunlight. Fine particulate matter can penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream and is emitted directly during fuel combustion and fires or indirectly. These concerns are expected to worsen with climate change.
If air quality is degraded or expected to become degraded, an advisory is emailed to subscribers, media, health authorities, and other agencies and posted to Metro Vancouver’s website, AirMap, and social media. The information in these advisories can help members of the public reduce their exposure to degraded air quality.
The advisory service is delivered in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Fraser Valley Regional District, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health Authority, First Nations Health Authority, and the BC Centre for Disease Control.