Lower Mainland air quality levels among the worst in recent years


In fact, as of Monday, August 20th, Metro Vancouver air pollution has risen to an unhealthy level.

The smoke from wildfires across northern parts of Washington state and southern British Columbia has lowered visibility to between one and three miles in some areas and is leading to dangerously unhealthy air quality across the region.

The system even allows you to check on individual components of the air quality index such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particle pollution which is what is found in wildfire smoke.

"We're going to continue to see that offshore flow bringing the smoke directly out of Eastern Washington into Western Washington through the day [Tuesday]", said Marriott.

Thick smoke in Denver blocked the view of some of Colorado's famous mountains and prompted an air quality health advisory for the northeastern quarter of the state. To help you stay informed about air quality during the fire season, KQED Science is providing this map showing air quality in your area and what it means for your health, updated hourly. Forecasters expect some relief and air circulation by late Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, an Air Quality Alert will remain in effect through midweek.

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The poor air quality can be especially unsafe for people with preexisting heart conditions.

On the weekend, flights at several airports in B.C.'s Interior and West Kootenay regions were cancelled or delayed due to smoke.

"I went biking yesterday, and I really felt it in my lungs, and I was really headachy and like, lethargic", Simon said Monday.

And although surgical masks may give people a sense of security, Saxton said they are not an effective filter for fine particulate matter, which is so small it "can penetrate deep into the lungs".

The Puget Sound Air Agency has issued a Stage 1 burn ban for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties until further notice and is addition to existing fire safety burn bans.