Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage
The air quality continues to improve at the beginning of the Vancouver Island’s fire season, according to a recent report from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
While several areas in the Lower Mainland, including the Fraser Valley and the Lantz’s Lake area, experienced unhealthy air quality Thursday through Sunday, the agency said there was also some improvement.
The air quality was still unhealthy for most of Vancouver Island for much of the rest of the week, although it remained below the Canada-wide air quality standards.
A number of wildfires that began on the Island in early January have merged into four large fires that have burned for several days before being contained.
Environment and Climate Change Canada said the Island is in the top 10 for its wildfire emissions.
“The Island remains one of the most vulnerable areas to wildfire,” the agency said in a news release Thursday.
“The Island’s fire season has been exceptionally active over the last several months, and it’s not surprising that levels of air quality have declined over the last few days.”
The biggest of the island’s wildfires involved a blaze that closed part of the island’s main street in Port Hardy on Thursday morning.
That’s the sixth time the island has been closed to vehicular traffic since the beginning of the year.
A total of 15,400 hectares of land was burned in the fire, the agency said.
Environment Canada, B.C. Wildfire and the Fraser River National Park also reported air quality was improved due to the early fire season.
In Vancouver, air quality was generally deemed unhealthy Thursday for most of the week. The air quality remained above the Air Quality Health Canada threshold during the busy week.
Environment Canada said the Island was in the top 10 for its wildfire emissions during both January and February. The agency said the fires that started earlier this year in the Greater Metro Vancouver region on Feb. 14 have led to the most emissions in the Island’s record.
“Wildfires have already impacted the Island’s air quality, but climate change is making the Island more vulnerable to wildfire in the years ahead,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada said in a Thursday news release.
The Island was also one of the top two locations for air pollution that came