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How to protect yourself from unhealthy air during wildfire season

Wednesday, July 7th 2021, 9:13 am - An active wildfire season is underway across parts of British Columbia and drought-stricken U.S. West, which are having a profound impact on air quality. Here’s what you can do to ensure you and your loved ones are as protected as possible from the potentially harmful pollutants.

After a dry spring, drought conditions are a major concern for agricultural regions across much of Western Canada, along with a heightened risk for wildfires and poor air quality later in the season.

Throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District, there are more than 30 air quality monitoring stations that track current conditions and help officials determine when an advisory should be issued.

The stations collect air pollution data and report information on key pollutants that are indicators of overall outdoor air quality.

RELATED: 10 tips for coping with wildfire smoke, from a public health expert

An air quality advisory is issued when pollutant concentrations approach or exceed predetermined limits, or when degraded-air-quality episodes are expected to continue or worsen.

Four of the last six years (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) have had significant air quality impacts from wildfire smoke in BC, and current forecasts indicate this year won’t be any different.

To help residents impacted, The Weather Network reporter Mia Gordon spoke with Julie Saxton, an air quality planner with Metro Vancouver, who shared tips on what to do should air pollution reach potentially harmful levels this summer. Watch the video above for the full interview.

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