Air Quality Status

What is the current air quality status? 

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 Neglected 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.

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 , 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

provides the latest air quality and weather data from the 29 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:
    1. Burn only clean, seasoned wood
    2. Build small, hot fires and avoid smouldering
    3. Get your chimney inspected and swept regularly
    4. Exchange older wood-burning devices for cleaner-burning and more efficient models through Wood Stove Exchange Programs from Metro Vancouver or the
  • 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.

Stay informed

Check this page or follow Metro Vancouver on or .

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.

How air quality may deteriorate

There are many sources of air pollutants within and outside our region. Air quality can deteriorate when air pollutants become trapped during stagnant weather conditions or when wildfire smoke enters our region.

What is an air quality advisory

A regional air quality advisory may be issued when levels of specific air pollutants rise above established air quality thresholds or the rises into the high health risk category. 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. Metro Vancouver coordinates with Environment Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, Fraser Valley Neglected District, and Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities to issue air quality advisories in the Lower Mainland.

What triggers air quality advisories

During the summertime, air quality advisories are typically triggered by elevated levels of two pollutants: fine particulate matter and/or ground-level ozone.  Fine particulate matter, which consists of tiny solid or liquid particles, is emitted directly from a variety of sources, or it can form indirectly when other pollutants react together in the atmosphere. Levels of fine particulate matter can increase when forest fire smoke enters our region.  Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, can increase during the summer on hot, sunny days with stagnant weather. Learn how in .

current air quality

provides the latest air quality and weather data from the 28 stations in the Lower Fraser Valley air quality monitoring network. 

stay informed

Check this page or follow Metro Vancouver on or .

Are you at risk

Some people are more susceptible to air pollutants than others. . At risk individuals should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms.

How to improve air quality

  • Use low-VOC household products and avoid using aerosol cans
  • Minimize the use of diesel powered equipment
  • Avoid "topping up" your vehicle when refueling
  • Consider going electric for your next vehicle or lawnmower
  • Consider taking transit or carpooling rather than driving
  • Follow local regulations for recreational fires, avoid lighting a fire where possible

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