Air quality levels unprecedented across Metro VancouverAir quality levels unprecedented across Metro Vancouver<div class="ExternalClass6933B010152747CF8C6979390B32E7FD"><p>Metro Vancouver faced one of its worst summers in terms of air quality in 2017, as heavy smoke from the wildfires raging in B.C. and the northwest U.S. drifted across the region. Prolonged hot and dry conditions led to extreme fire risk conditions, significant wildfire activity and deteriorating air quality.</p><p>Metro Vancouver played a key role in the early detection and the ongoing surveillance of its air quality, due to wildfire smoke, which significantly exceeded any previous year and affected monitoring stations from Hope to Horseshoe Bay. </p><p>Five air quality advisories were issued this summer, with an unprecedented 19 days under advisory. The longest period was from August 1-12, with elevated levels of fine particulate matter and intermittent spikes of high ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is usually produced during hot sunny weather, but the smoky skies inhibited sunlight and reduced temperatures, which suggests the smoke coming into the region was also carrying pollutants that accelerated ground-level ozone production. </p><p>On a brighter note, despite the prolonged “extreme” fire danger rating, there were few fire incidents in parks and green spaces throughout Metro Vancouver, thanks in part to the diligence of Regional Parks and Watershed Protection staff.</p><p>Metro Vancouver residents generally enjoy clean, clear air, but the summers of 2015 and 2017 may be an indication of how the changing climate will increase the severity and occurrence of out-of-region wildfires in the future. As a result, Metro Vancouver plans to adapt its approach to air quality management in response to wildfires, not only to deal with smoke particles but also ground-level ozone. </p><p>For more information on air quality, check our AirMap: <a href="https://gis.metrovancouver.org/maps/air/" target="_blank">https://gis.metrovancouver.org/maps/air/</a>.</p></div>http://www.metrovancouver.org/metroupdate/PublishingImages/issue35-aq.jpg2017-09-29T07:00:00ZGP0|#910cbf3d-ad4b-48c1-8bf2-299ca0587371;L0|#0910cbf3d-ad4b-48c1-8bf2-299ca0587371|Issue 35;GTSet|#d14ffe11-45dc-48fb-8684-ff109cf15a74<div class="ExternalClass5631BBDF67C947F9B53AD3E7E5DB5D07"><p>Metro Vancouver faced one of its worst summers in terms of air quality in 2017, as heavy smoke from the wildfires raging in B.C. and the northwest U.S. drifted across the region. Five air quality advisories were issued this summer, with an unprecedented 19 days under advisory. The longest advisory period was from August 1-12, with elevated levels of fine particulate matter and intermittent spikes of high ground-level ozone.</p></div>0Smoke over Metro Vancouver (Credit: NASA’s Terra satellite)