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Smoke from BC wildfires rolls into Calgary

Smoke from a handful of wildfires in B.C. is starting to roll into Calgary

“We do have around six wildfires of note in the province. A wildfire of note is one that's more visible to communities or might be threatening homes,” said Jean Strong, provincial fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service.

“Those are in the Kamloops Fire Centre and the Southeast Fire Centre.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Air Quality Health Index in Calgary moved up to a 4, which is considered moderate risk.

The BC Wildfire Service says people in Alberta can track which way the smoke is travelling on the FireSmoke Canada website.

“As we see those two wildfires of note in the Southeast Fire Centre, which are closer to the (Alberta) border continue to grow, there might be more smoke moving into our neighbouring province,” Strong said.

Some Calgarians say it’s been nice having a relatively smoke-free summer so far, especially compared to last year.

“When you are outside, you want to be able to enjoy the fresh air, so this year is much better than the previous years, a lot better air quality for us to be outside enjoying the weather,” Dusty Fisk said.

Another Calgarian worries it won’t last long.

“I was just in BC a couple days ago in Invermere and it was getting a little smoky, so I’m a little worried it’s going to start coming over here,” Rocky Xerri said.

The hot, dry weather accompanied by lightning is fuelling the wildfires in BC.

The BC Wildfire Service has implemented campfire prohibitions for most of the southern half of the province. No campfires or any other open burning such as fireworks will be allowed in the Kamloops, Southeast or Coastal Fire Centres.

“It’s a way for us to prevent human-caused wildfires, especially because responding to human-caused wildfires can draw resources away from lightning-caused wildfires which we cannot prevent no matter how hard we try,” Strong said.

Similar measures are being taken in Alberta.

As of Tuesday and Wednesday, Vulcan County, the Municipal District of Willow Creek and Foothills County have put fire restrictions in place due to dry, windy and warm conditions.

Those areas are revoking all fire permits and not issuing any new ones.

They are also asking people to use extreme caution and warn that these fire restrictions could quickly turn to fire bans.

Strong said it is still safe for Albertans to travel to the province, but that they should be on alert.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to cancel your trips, unless of course, the place that you’ve planned to visit is falling within an evacuation order area, in which case, we’d expect you to respect that order, to remove yourself from the area or stay out of it for the safety of our crews,” she told CTV News.

“But, I think it’s just a matter of being aware of the situation. It’s not as severe as last year, but there certainly are some wildfires, and making sure that you’re equipped with the right resources to get that factual information before you do travel.”

So far this year, BC has had just over 500 wildfires, down from over 1,300 this time last year. Top Stories

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