Air quality statements issued for southwest Alberta amid wildfire smoke

Parts of southern Alberta ​were placed under an air quality statement on Monday as wildfire smoke from B.C. and the western U.S. settled over the province.

Environment Canada issued special air quality statements for Banff National Park, Kananaskis, Canmore, Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Waterton Lakes National Park, Cardston, Fort Macleod and Magrath just after 4:30 a.m.

Read more: Wildfire smoke from western U.S. settles over Alberta

In the advisory, the national weather agency warned smoke was resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath,” the alert stated.

“Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

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Environment Canada said air quality is expected to gradually improve for most regions Monday evening and overnight as higher smoke concentrations move south.

“The exception to this will be in the Pincher Creek and Cardston regions, where smoke will continue to persist into Tuesday,” the weather agency said.

Air Quality Health Index provincial summary

An Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is used to warn people of the potential risk level when exposed to poor air conditions.

The index uses a number from 1 to 10 to denote the risk level; the higher the number, the higher the risk to your health.

As of 12 p.m. on Monday, Alberta Environment and Parks listed Calgary’s AQHI as 3 (low risk), with it forecast to reach 5 (moderate risk) later in the day and sit at 5 again on Tuesday.

Edmonton’s AQHI sat at 2 (low risk) and was forecast to stay at 2 throughout the day and sit at 2 again on Tuesday.

Lethbridge’s AQHI sat at 3 (low risk) and was forecast to reach 6 (moderate risk) during the day and sit at 6 again on Tuesday.

For up-to-date information on the air quality across the province, visit Alberta Health’s website.

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Individuals experiencing symptoms potentially linked to poor air quality are encouraged to call Health Link at 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

To see a radar map of the smoke forecast, visit Alberta Wildfire’s website.

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