Metro Vancouver issued an air quality advisory due to the smoke coming from a fire on an industrial barge in Surrey on Friday.
The region says monitoring stations have detected intermittent spikes in concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) coming from the fire.
Residents across the region report smelling toxic smoke from areas such as Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey and Vancouver.
The smoke is being created by a scrap metal fire on a barge near the Pattullo Bridge.
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Metro Vancouver is warning about the smoke, telling everyone to seek shelter, close windows and doors and reduce indoor pollution sources.
The issue is the fine particulate matter in the air, which can cause health problems for pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Anyone who shows symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or chest discomfort, should seek medical advice.
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An air quality advisory is already in place for eastern Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone from the wildfires burning in B.C.
Ground-level ozone is produced when pollutants react with sunlight during the hot parts of a day.
“If people are experiencing smoke, if they can see smoke, if they can smell smoke in their neighbourhood, they should really be staying indoors and closing their doors and windows until the smoke passes,” said Julie Saxton, an air quality planner with Metro Vancouver.
Now, the region says high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the eastern Fraser Valley are a concern as well.
Fine particulate matter refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets smaller than 2.5 micrometres in size, which can easily penetrate indoors because they are so small.
—with files from Simon Little
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