Amidst recent rainfall, the air quality in Metro Vancouver has significantly improved. However, with a change in weather and the possibility of wildfire smoke returning, there remains a potential for hazy conditions this weekend. Kyle Howe, an air quality analyst with the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD), states, “We are looking at the potential return to smoke. I don’t think concentrations are going to be super high compared to what we have had previously.”
While monitoring tools suggest the presence of smoke over the weekend, the extent of its visibility remains uncertain. Starting Friday, warm and sunny conditions are expected to return to the region, potentially bringing outflow winds that carry wildfire smoke. However, this smoke event is likely to be confined to Friday and Saturday, as more wind and another weather system move in on Sunday.
Howe explains that recent cooler weather and rainfall have affected wildfire behavior. The rain has aided in reducing fire activity and temporarily prevented smoke production due to cloud cover. The fires, though still burning, may not generate significant smoke in the coming days.
So where is this smoke coming from? Howe suggests that the smoke entering Metro Vancouver is likely from fires burning in southern areas of British Columbia. Major contributors include the fires at Stein Mountain, Kookipi Creek, Duncan Lake, and Caspar Creek. Additionally, smaller fires in the region also contribute to the smoke.
The future of smoke in Metro Vancouver remains uncertain. MVRD staff continuously monitor and measure air quality data throughout the year. Wildfire season, along with its impact on air quality, does not end until all fires are extinguished. “Historically, that may have been sometime in September, but last year we saw impacts all the way into October, which was new to us,” states Howe.
For further information regarding air quality in Metro Vancouver, and to view the Air Map with real-time updates on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and any issued advisories, please visit the MVRD’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Is the air quality in Metro Vancouver currently good?
Thanks to recent rainfall, the air quality in Metro Vancouver has greatly improved. However, there is a possibility of a return of wildfire smoke, which could affect the air quality.
2. When is the smoke expected to return?
While monitoring tools suggest the presence of smoke over the weekend, the visibility and intensity remain uncertain. Smoke is likely to be more evident on Friday and Saturday, with a weather system and increased wind moving in on Sunday.
3. Where does the smoke in Metro Vancouver come from?
The smoke that could enter Metro Vancouver is expected to come from fires burning in southern parts of British Columbia. Major contributors include fires at Stein Mountain, Kookipi Creek, Duncan Lake, and Caspar Creek, along with smaller fires in the region.
4. What factors influence the production of smoke from wildfires?
Recent cooler weather and rainfall have temporarily reduced fire activity and mitigated smoke production. While the fires still burn, the amount of smoke they produce in the coming days remains uncertain.
5. When does the wildfire season end in Metro Vancouver?
Wildfire season, along with its implications for air quality, continues until all fires are extinguished. Historically, September marked the end of the season, but last year, impacts were seen as late as October.