Skip to content

New West weather: Metro Vancouver's clear skies masked by wildfire smoke

Cooler temperatures forecast this week – but it could heat up in New West on the weekend
Smoke on the water: The Q to Q ferry makes a trip between Westminster Quay and Queensborough on Aug. 21.

There’s clear skies over Metro Vancouver – but you may not know it because of the smoke from wildfires.

The weather forecast for New Westminster for Monday, Aug. 21 is for a “clear, cloudless sky”, with temperatures reaching a high of 23C, according to Weatherhood.

This week’s weather forecast is calling for temperatures to reach a high of 20C on Tuesday and 18C on Wednesday, before rising to 24C on Thursday. Warmer weather is on the way for the weekend, with Weatherhood’s forecast calling for 29C on Friday and 30C-highs on Saturday and Sunday.

Metro Vancouver Regional District has issued an air quality advisory due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter from wildfires throughout B.C. The advisory, issued Saturday, Aug. 19, is expected to last until there’s a change in the weather.

According to Metro Vancouver, smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures and wildfire behaviour change.

A news release from Metro Vancouver recommends that people postpone or reduce outdoor physical activity while fine particulate matter and ozone concentrations are high, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable. It states that exposure is particularly a concern for people with underlying conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including bronchitis and emphysema, and other lung diseases, heart diseases, and/or diabetes; individuals with respiratory infections; pregnant people; infants and children; older adults; and outdoor workers (e.g., construction and agricultural workers).

Individuals who are socially marginalized may also be at higher risk (e.g., people who are experiencing homelessness or are underhoused), said Metro Vancouver.

“As we are in the summer season with warm temperatures, it is also important to stay cool and hydrated,” said the news release. “Indoor spaces with air filtration and air conditioning may offer relief from both air pollution and heat. Consider running a portable HEPA air cleaner in one or more rooms or spending time in public buildings with large indoor spaces and air conditioning (e.g., community centre, library, mall).”

As of Monday morning, the BC Wildfire Service was reporting 382 active fires in British Columbia, with five new fires in the last 24 hours. Of the current wildfire in B.C., 157 are categorized as being out of control.

Fourteen of them are deemed to be fires of note, which means they’re highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.

On Friday, Premier David Eby declared a provincial state of emergency, action taken with the goal of ensuring the province is in a position to rapidly access any tools it needs to support communities as the situation evolves.

The province subsequently restricted non-essential travel to the southern interior (Kelowna, West Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon), as thousands of people are under evacuation order. The restriction is intended to help ensure accommodation is available for critical-response personnel and the tens of thousands of people evacuated due to wildfires. 

Wildfires in Kelowna and the Shuswap forced thousands out of their homes over the weekend.