Wildfire smoke prompts air quality advisories across Alberta

With wildfire smoke causing poor air quality and visibility, special statements were issued across Alberta on Saturday, Aug. 14, in addition to the plethora of heat warnings already in place.

“Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour,” Environment Canada said.

As of Saturday at 4 p.m., Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary’s air quality health index values were high risk.

Read more: Alberta continues to set records during hot, smoky summer

Wildfire smoke is a “constantly changing mixture of particles and gases, which includes many chemicals that can harm your health,” according to Environment Canada. The agency advised people to stay inside if they have trouble breathing.

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“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,” it said.

“If your home is not air-conditioned, be sure the house doesn’t get too warm when doors and windows are closed to keep out smoke. Exposure to too much heat can also result in illness.”

Calgary’s forecast

Calgary’s daytime highs in the low- to mid-30s and overnight lows in the mid-teens are expected to continue over the weekend, Environment Canada said. Cooler temperatures will move into the province on Monday.

Read more: Heat warning issued for Alberta with 30C temps in the forecast

“After a nice hot day yesterday of 32 degrees, we did see the winds come in from the southwest and west today, and that wind was just enough to bring in the wildfire smoke from B.C. and of course, off to the west, closer to the Canmore region,” said Global News Calgary weather anchor Gemma Lynne Stroobant on Saturday.

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Expect widespread smoke again on Sunday, she explained, adding that the skies will clear on Monday due to winds coming in from the north.

“There is a chance some rain and some showers will move in Monday night into Tuesday,” Stroobant said.

“Tuesday looks really cool with some rain showers. We could see anywhere from 10 to 20 millimetres of precipitation, and we do need that precipitation because it’s so dry, but also with the cooler north wind, that precipitation is going to help clear out the air.”

Check the Environment Canada website for details on alerts in your area.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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