Air quality bulletins
Metro Vancouver puts out air quality bulletins to let you know when air quality may degrade in localized areas within the communities identified in each bulletin. Air quality bulletins are issued during the cooler times of year (fall or winter) when weather conditions are preventing dispersion of air pollutants.
Air quality advisories
A regional air quality advisory may be issued when air quality has become degraded in several communities within Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley Regional District. Advisories contain information that describes the immediate issue, the impacts it may have, and what everyone can do to protect themselves and improve air quality. Advisories are usually in effect for at least one day.
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How air quality can deteriorate
There are many sources of air pollutants within and outside our region. When these air pollutants become trapped during calm and stable weather conditions, such as
inversions, air quality can deteriorate. Pollutants may remain trapped until there is a change in the weather.
During the cooler weather months, air quality can become degraded due to elevated levels of fine particulate matter. Fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid or liquid particles which have been emitted directly into the air; examples include smoke from home heating appliances and open burning, soot from diesel-powered equipment, exhaust from cars and trucks. Nearby activities (like home heating using a woodstove or fireplace) may be the main source of air pollutants in your neighbourhood.
Current air quality
AirMap.ca provides the latest air quality and weather data from the 31 stations in the Lower Fraser Valley air quality monitoring network.
Actions you can take to improve air quality
- Avoid lighting fires and using wood stoves or fireplaces unless they are your main source of heat.
- If you must use a wood-burning device, minimize smoke emissions:
Before lighting a fire, check the residential wood burning smoke forecast at 604-436-6777 for daily updates on whether wood smoke is likely to build up in your neighbourhood.
Minimize the use of diesel-powered equipment.
Consider taking transit, carpooling, walking or cycling rather than driving to your destination.
- Burn only clean, seasoned wood
- Build small, hot fires and avoid smouldering
- Get your chimney inspected and swept regularly
- Exchange older wood-burning devices for cleaner-burning and more efficient models through Wood Stove Exchange Programs from
Metro Vancouver or the
Fraser Valley Regional District
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You can also
subscribe here to receive air quality advisories and notices about consultation on regional air quality and climate change initiatives.
Good air quality is important
Some of your neighbours may be more sensitive than you to air pollutants. Infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease are most at risk of adverse health impacts. If an air quality bulletin or advisory has been issued, people with chronic underlying medical conditions and who are sensitive to degraded air quality may wish to consider postponing strenuous exercise until the bulletin or advisory has been lifted.