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Air quality advisory issued for Metro Vancouver

Air quality in the lower mainland triggered an advisory this morning: "Air quality in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District has deteriorated due to smoke transported from forest fires in the interior of the province." Meanwhile the interior is seeing dramatically worse air quality.

The advisory stated that "Elevated levels of fine particulate matter have been detected at air quality monitoring stations in the region, particularly in coastal parts of the Lower Fraser Valley (Tsawwassen, Richmond - Vancouver Airport and Vancouver - Kitsilano).

"Due to the current spell of hot, sunny weather, ozone levels are also expected to be elevated this afternoon in the region. Poor air quality conditions are expected to persist for the next 24 hours."

The government's B.C. Air Quality web page showed readings of 4 or 5 (moderate) for Metro Vancouver, with maximums today and tonight of 5 or 6. Similar readings were reported for Nanaimo/Parksville and Victoria/Saanich.

In Prince George, however, the Air Quality Health Index at 3:00 p.m. Monday was 8, and in Quesnel it was 9 -- both "high." Both communities could look forward to an overnight improvement, with readings of 3 or 4 on Tuesday.

Williams Lake could expect air quality to worsen, from 4 to 7 (high) overnight, while Kamloops and the Central Okanagan would also see worsening quality tonight and some improvement on Tuesday.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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