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How much longer will wildfire smoke and haze hang around Metro Vancouver?

Here is when it is expected to clear and what affect it is having on air quality.
The Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes rain which should improve air quality that is being affected by wildfire smoke.

You probably can't smell it, but smoke from the wildfires in B.C. continues to affect air quality in Vancouver. 

Metro Vancouver hasn't issued an air quality advisory because concentrations of ground-level ozone haven't increased to a degree that makes the atmosphere unhealthy for people to breathe.   

But locals observed some haze in the sky early Friday, Sept. 22 morning. Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) also noted hazy conditions in its report.

Environment Canada meteorologist Derek Lee said that smoke from fires along the B.C. coast and south of the border in Washington continues to affect conditions locally, noting that a period of stagnant weather is to blame. 

"Right now, we are predominately under a ridge of high pressure and the air doesn't move around a lot," he told V.I.A., highlighting how a long stretch of hot weather with very little wind hasn't allowed conditions to change. 

Smoke conditions are currently stuck under the ridge of high pressure so "we won't see the haze move out right now," Lee added. That said, they aren't expected to get worse, and they will be improving very soon. 

Starting sometime overnight Friday, clouds will roll into the Lower Mainland, ushering in some light showers sometime after noon on Saturday. While they will be rather light, they are expected to precipitate some heavier rainfall starting overnight Sunday and continuing into Monday. 

While the national weather forecaster isn't calling for a torrential downpour, the rainfall will likely bring some winds through the region, which will help clear any remaining haze, Lee explained. 

Why isn't the current B.C. wildfire haze affecting air quality?

Metro Vancouver issued and continued several air quality advisories over the summer as wildfire smoke created unhealthy and poor conditions locally. But there has to be quite a bit of smoke for it to reach ground level in the region.

Right now the haze is aloft -- above ground level -- in Metro Vancouver because there isn't enough of it. Since it hasn't reached the ground, locals can't smell any of it, either. 

"You have to get a lot of it on top and then it comes down," Lee noted.

The Vancouver weather forecast includes the possibility of several wet days with winds off the ocean that will clear the haze. You can check V.I.A.'s weather forecasting platform, Weatherhood, for detailed, neighbourhood-specific forecasts for places across the Lower Mainland, including metrics like temperature, precipitation, air quality, humidity, and wind pressure.