Environment Canada rates Calgary's air quality as very high risk
CTV News Calgary
Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 8:15PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, May 31, 2019 6:56PM MDT
Smoke from the massive wildfires near High Level and other wildfires in northern Alberta have caused air quality and visibility to deteriorate across the province.
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for much of Alberta, including Calgary.
The air quality in Calgary was ranked at a 10 or 10+ in some parts of the city Friday morning, which is high risk and extremely dangerous.
The smoke is having an affect on a number of facilities too, especially ones that involve outdoor activities:
Officials with Alberta Health Services issued their own air quality statement, warning people to stay indoors if possible.
“If you are going to be doing any activities outside, particularly strenuous activities, do be aware of that, especially for people with pre-existing medical conditions,” said Naomi Nania with Calgary EMS.
AHS warns the pollution can aggravate diseases leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room or hospital visits.
Health officials also say the very young or elderly are most at risk, with common symptoms including irritation to the eyes or throat.
Dr. David Strong, lead Medical Officer of Health with AHS, says there are a number of things people can do to keep themselves safe from the smoke.
"People have to be alert and they have to go to either the Environment Canada website or government of Alberta website to check on the updates to air quality," he says. "In their own home, if they keep the windows closed, effectively keeping the outdoor air outside, that will maintain the quality of air inside the home."
Dr. Strong says the forecast indicates conditions will improve overnight, but with the fires still burning n northern Alberta, it's anyone's guess.
"This is smoke, so it causes irritation in the airways so it can particularly cause problems."
For up-to-date information and advice visit the AHS website.
Images from firesmoke.ca show that most of the smoke is forecasted to drift further north by Saturday morning, however hazy conditions are expected in Calgary throughout the weekend.
Environment Canada predicts the air quality index to remain high (8-10) up until 5 p.m. Friday when it’s expected to dip into the moderate range.
As of Thursday morning, Alberta Wildfire reported 29 wildfires in the province and 10 were considered to be out control.
For updated air quality reading for locations throughout the province visit the AQHI website.