As 241 wildfires rage throughout British Columbia, smoke is threatening Metro Vancouver, and Stanley Park has been closed overnight.

British Columbia
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This weekend’s forecast for B.C.’s south coast includes wildfire smoke as well as a heatwave, which, in the aftermath of last month’s deadly heat dome, led health authorities to issue warnings on Friday. This weekend, smoke is anticipated to flow into Metro Vancouver, joining towns throughout the province that have been shrouded by wildfire smoke for weeks, at levels well exceeding World Health Organization limit standards.

As B.C.’s air quality continues to be a health issue, the province’s wildfire service reports 241 wildfires are presently burning, down from over 300 last week. Manning Park, roughly 200 kilometers east of Vancouver, is experiencing partial restrictions due to a new fire. Heat warnings or special weather statements are now in effect over much of British Columbia, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s in the northeast to 40 degrees Celsius in the Fraser Canyon and Boundary areas.

Rob Schweitzer, the wildfire service’s director of fire center operations, warns that the heat, combined with inadequate cooling at night, could lead to extreme burning conditions over the following several days. Lightning is also expected in areas that are already at high to extreme danger of wildfires.

According to FireSmoke Canada, smoky skies may arrive in Metro Vancouver and the South Coast on Saturday morning, but westward breezes will likely push it eastward by Sunday. On Friday evening, Vancouver Coastal Health issued its first wildfire smoke warning of the year.

The hazy cloud contains small particulate matter, which can be particularly bothersome for those with respiratory problems, as well as babies, young children, and pregnant women. Health authorities advised everyone to “limit time spent outside and vigorous activity” until the smoke cleared, but they also warned that the anticipated heat wave puts many people in danger.

At 2 p.m. PT, Environment Canada issued an air quality alert for eastern Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley due to elevated levels of ground-level ozone that are likely to last throughout the weekend. Much of the province is already used to breathing in the dangerously smoky air.

On Friday, circumstances deteriorated in certain locations, notably in and around Kelowna, which had an air quality rating 42 times higher than the World Health Organization’s maximum standards, with reports of street lights coming on throughout the day and limited vision.