Burnaby residents endure week of unhealthy air quality

Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As a high-pressure system moves westward, bringing with it smoke, rain and thunderstorms, residents of Vancouver have endured weeks of unhealthy air quality.

This week, however, the smoke has cleared and there is some relief in sight.

A low pressure system moving into central B.C. late on Wednesday brought with it a good chunk of cool, wet and unsettled air moving across Vancouver Island, said the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

“We’ve had a pretty significant amount of rain here just in the last few days,” said Jason Woosley, the area’s health officer. “It’s helping to cool the air in all areas, not only in our city.”

Vancouver’s air quality is currently under the province’s worst-case air quality designation for 2013. The city’s smog alerts rose to Level 3 on Monday at 2:45 p.m., said the province.

Most other areas of the province remained under an alert of Level 2 Wednesday, and the city still faces major restrictions in three areas, including Burnaby-Alberni, where there is a Level 2 air quality forecast.

There were two minor fires, including a grass fire on the outskirts of Burnaby, that remained under control Wednesday evening, but were still dangerous conditions. The fires were contained early Thursday morning.

Another wildfire grew to near 500 hectares overnight in the city of West Vancouver, with about 2,500 hectares of land destroyed.

In other parts of the country, wildfire activity has been dampened by strong rains and cool temperatures.

Across northern BC, wildfire activity has eased as dry air and warm sunshine helped fire crews battle blazes in the Kootenays, Interior, Cariboo and Interior-Colville regions Wednesday, said Cal Fire.

Burnaby RCMP reported Wednesday afternoon that the fire in the city of Burnaby may be 40-50 hectares in size, but the flames are not out. Crews remain on scene and will be monitoring the fire overnight and daybreak Thursday.

The smoke in the Vancouver area is being influenced by winds from a high-pressure system that is expected to bring the precipitation for the weekend, Woos

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