High concentrations of fine particulate matter have settled over the Tri-Cities due to smoke from multiple B.C. Wildfires, according to a release from Metro Vancouver.
The regional authority issued an air quality advisory Saturday. That advisory is expected to remain in effect until there’s a change in the weather, according to a release from Metro Vancouver. To see updated air quality information, click here.
To help residents breathe easier, Port Coquitlam is offering N95 masks free of charge at city rec centres.
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Coquitlam is operating cleaner air facilities at Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, Dogwood and Glen Pine pavilions, as well as the City Centre Aquatic Complex to help residents escape the haze.
By augmenting previous air filtration with charcoal filters, the ventilation systems at Coquitlam facilities has been upgraded to “provide improved interior air quality when the outside air quality is poor,” according to a release from the city.
Coquitlam is not planning to open the facilities overnight. However, operating hours could be extended depending on the “duration and severity of the air quality risk,” according to a release from the city. For updated info on Coquitlam’s cooler air centres, click here.
Port Moody was hit hard over the weekend, as the level of fine Particulate Matter-2.5 rose from 5 to 62 micrograms per cubic metre of air from Saturday to Sunday at dusk. PM-2.5 is about one-thirtieth the thickness of a human hair and can penetrate deep into human lungs and sometimes into the bloodstream.
PM-2.5 levels from Coquitlam’s air monitoring station were not available at press time.
Concentrations of PM-2.5 are expected to remain elevated Monday morning. However, conditions could “vary widely” as winds shift, temperatures change and crews battle wildfires, according to Metro Vancouver.
Exposure to fine particulate matter can aggravate lung and heart diseases and lead to health impacts including an increased risk of cancer and a reduction of life expectancy, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.
Tri-Cities residents are advised to modify their usual outdoor activities if they start coughing or experience throat irritation, according to Metro Vancouver’s Air Quality Health Index. At press time, the index rated the air quality at four, which is considered moderate. An Index of seven to 10 is considered high.