Despite sunny conditions in the forecast, a thick blanket of smoke from the numerous wildfires now blazing south of the border officially rolled into the region Friday night, creating an ominous-looking sunset and sending the city's air quality plummeting.
Environment Canada issued an air quality advisory for much of southern British Columbia Friday as multiple cities reached air quality levels high enough to pose health risks. Air quality in Metro Vancouver remains at a rating of 10+ Saturday, indicating a "very high" health risk.
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According to Environment Canada, a majority of the province, including the Okanagan Valley, North and South Thompson, Shuswap, and Prince George, has been extended air quality statements.
IQ Air bases its rankings on the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air quality index (AQI) in order to "translate pollutant concentrations to a relatable scale for risk to health". According to NASA's overview of the fires the smoke has travelled more than 2,000 kilometres and continues to do so as it moves towards the Pacific Ocean.
Castellan says anyone planning strenuous activities outside should reschedule them and that children, the elderly and pregnant people should also avoid spending time outdoors.