Tri-Cities air quality health risk high

Coquitlam monitoring station hits 11 on scale of 10 due to wildfire smoke

The Tri-Cities air quality health risk index was very high Monday.

According to Metro Vancouver's website, the Coquitlam monitoring station registered 11 on the risk index. Anything above 10 is considered very high.

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It continued as very high into the evening before dropping, but it was still in the high range at 8 and 9. Overnight, it fluctuated between 5 and 6, which is considered moderate, eventually settling at 5 Tuesday morning. It was expected to reach the lower ends of the high rating at 7 through the night and into Wednesday.

After canceling an earlier one, Metro Vancouver issued another air quality advisory last week and it remains in effect. High concentrations of fine particulate matter is descending on the area due to wildfires burning in British Columbia and the western United States.

The poor air quality is having an effect on local high school football teams that began their preparations for the upcoming season on Tuesday. Martin McConnell, the head coach of the Terry Fox Ravens, said he kept his charges in the school's two gyms and commons area. He said he plans to move the workouts back outdoors if conditions improve.

The elevated levels are expected to persist until there is a change in fire or weather conditions. There might be some relief in sight with Environment Canada forecasting a 30% chance of showers Friday and Saturday, and 60% for Sunday and Monday.

Metro Vancouver is advising anyone with chronic underlying medical conditions to put off strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Of particular concern is exposure to infants, the elderly and those with diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

More information on what to do for those feeling the effects of the air quality is available at

— with a file from Mario Bartel

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