Special air quality statement issued as wildfire smoke blankets region

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is under a special air quality advisory from Environment Canada.

Wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories are causing heavy smoke to cover the region from Fort Chipewyan through to Fort McMurray and surrounding areas. Environment Canada says wildfire smoke, even in low concentrations, can be detrimental to everyone’s health. They are advising people in smoke affected areas to take actions to reduce exposure to the smoke.

“People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.”

They further advise people to limit outdoor activity and keep windows in homes closed to help keep indoor air clean.

“If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms,” adds the Environment Canada advisory.

While meteorologists at the agency predict a slight chance of rain tomorrow, they also predict smoke to continue to linger in our region.

Up to date smoke forecasts can be found at Firesmoke.ca, and information on air quality events can be found on the Alberta Health Services website.

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