Alerts in Effect
Special Air Quality StatementIssued at 04:30 Thursday 20 July 2017
The smoke event will continue in western and central Alberta.
Forest fires in BC are generating huge amounts of smoke over western Canada. This smoke has crossed the Rockies and settled into much of central Alberta.
Due to the smoke, the AQHI could reach near 8-10, or very high risk, in parts of western and central Alberta today. The thickest smoke is in a corridor from Hinton to Edmonton to Red Deer.
The smoke will remain over western and central Alberta until at least Thursday afternoon or evening, when thunderstorms may flush out some of the smoke. Conditions in the southwest will improve sooner as a low pressure system develops north of Calgary and southwest winds will help to push the smoke to the northeast.
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.
In general, wearing a mask is not the best way to protect your health during a smoke event. In fact, masks may lead to a false sense of security, which may encourage increased physical activity and time spent outdoors, meaning increased exposure to smoke. They can also make breathing more difficult.
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.
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.