Smoke continues to be an issue for Canadian residents today, March 31. Smoke is drifting across Canada from the Alberta fires, leading to dry throats, coughing, watery eyes, shortness of breath, and health dangers for some in the area. Here’s a look at where the smoke is in the country right now, the air quality forecast, and what to expect.
Here’s a map of the smoke as it is spreading in Canada and the current forecasts as provided by Firesmoke.ca. Click on the link to see the interactive smoke forecast.
On Friday, May 31, Environment Canada issued an air quality statement warning people with lung conditions, cardiovascular issues, children, and seniors to consider staying inside if they have breathing difficulties. Here’s the full statement written for Calgary:
Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility over much of the province this morning.
For central and southern regions, the thickest smoke is expected to move northwestwards today as the flow continues to shift to southeasterly. However, conditions may remain hazy into the weekend.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.
Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.
For more information please visit Alberta Health Services at www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/air.aspx.
Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.
According to the statement, the thickest smoke is moving northwest today and the flow is shifting southeasterly. Conditions are expected to stay hazy over the weekend.
It’s important to note that air quality statements weren’t just issued for Calgary today, but for many locations in Alberta. The shaded areas below are all the places in Alberta with an air quality statement today:
See the interactive map here. Click on any region to see the latest alert near you. Below is a list of every location with a link to where you can find your location’s air quality statement for May 31:
- Airdrie – Cochrane – Olds – Sundre
- Brooks – Strathmore – Vulcan
- Cardston – Fort Macleod – Magrath
- City of Calgary
- City of Edmonton – St. Albert – Sherwood Park
- Crowsnest Pass – Pincher Creek – Waterton Lakes Nat. Park
- Cypress Hills Provincial Park – Foremost
- Drayton Valley – Devon – Rimbey – Pigeon Lake
- Drumheller – Three Hills
- Fort Chipewyan – Wood Buffalo National Park
- Fort Saskatchewan – Vegreville – Redwater – Smoky Lake
- Grande Prairie – Beaverlodge – Valleyview
- Hanna – Coronation – Oyen
- High Level – Rainbow Lake – Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie Hwy
- Hinton – Grande Cache
- Jasper National Park
- Kananaskis – Canmore
- Leduc – Camrose – Wetaskiwin – Tofield
- Lethbridge – Taber – Milk River
- Lloydminster – Wainwright – Vermilion – Provost
- Medicine Hat – Bow Island – Suffield
- Nordegg – Forestry Trunk Road Highway 734
- Okotoks – High River – Claresholm
- Peace River – Fairview – High Prairie – Manning
- Red Deer – Ponoka – Innisfail – Stettler
- Rocky Mountain House – Caroline
- Slave Lake
- Spruce Grove – Morinville – Mayerthorpe – Evansburg
- Wabasca – Peerless Lake – Gift Lake – Cadotte Lake
- Westlock – Barrhead – Athabasca
In some locations yesterday, such as in Edmonton, the air quality jumped to 10+, which is a high-risk category, Edmonton Journal reported.
Unfortunately, the problem is still continuing today, CBC reported. People in southern Alberta are asked to stay indoors and keep their windows closed on Friday, May 31. An air quality index of 10+ is in place for Calgary, Airdrie and Red Deer.
The smoke is so bad it’s also extending into the United States.
This is a developing story.