Why is it so smoky? Wildfires, blaze at recycling plant impacting Lower Mainland's air quality
Smoke from wildfires and a blaze at a wood recycling facility prompted an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Saturday.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the advisory is likely to remain in effect for the rest of the weekend due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter.
"Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as wildfire behaviour changes," the advisory says. "Today and tomorrow, additional smoke is expected to arrive from the south, further degrading air quality.
Two out-of-control wildfires are partly responsible for the poor air quality and reduced visibility in the region.
The Flood Falls Trail fire sparked southwest of Hope on Thursday and an evacuation alert was issued Friday.
The fire and is suspected to be human-caused and is burning in challenging terrain, according to an online update from the BC Wildfire Service Saturday.
"We are expecting to see increasing smoke persisting into the weekend with light outflow winds and temperatures will remain warm and dry," it reads.
Highway 1 remains open but drivers are being warned to anticipate smoke along the route in the Fraser Valley. Forty-three firefighters and six helicopters are working to contain the blaze.
Farther east, the Heather Lake fire is burning in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. It started south of the border in late August and has since grown to 7,000 hectares in total, 3,084 on the Canadian side. An evacuation alert remains in place for the community of Eastgate. The BCWS says the fire displayed "aggressive" behaviour overnight, and that heavy smoke will continue to blanket the park and parts of Highway 3.
The air quality advisory warns that wildfire smoke "is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health."
In Vancouver, a wood recycling plant caught fire early Saturday morning, which the advisory says is impacting air quality in a number of nearby municipalities including Richmond, Surrey, and Coquitlam.
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