Smoke shrouds Calgary for third straight day, AHS warns against exposure
Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015 5:07AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 26, 2015 6:54PM MDT
Health officials are continuing their advisories for Calgarians in the city to protect themselves from exposure to the smoky skies, which are hanging around for a third day straight.
“We’re expecting, based on the forecast, that air quality will move throughout the risk scale from low risk back up to very high risk,” said Dr. Jason Cabaj, AHS Medical Officer of Health, Calgary Zone. “People will need to be conscious of that. At some periods of time, over the next several days, there will be periods where the risk is in the very high range and the general population should be attentive to that."
Dr. Cabaj says emergency room visits that could be related to poor air quality are up approximately 20 per cent when compared to the previous week and Alberta HealthLink has fielded approximately 50 air quality related concerns.
For the general population, we do know that poor air quality can impact their health,” said Cabaj. “When it’s of sufficient poor quality, as it has been over the past few days with wood smoke, people are at risk who don’t have chronic conditions. They should be cautious.”
Cabaj recommends Albertans:
Make choices to minimize exposure to poor air quality
Let their symptoms be their guide
Adjust schedules, if possible, to reduce exposure
Take steps to reduce the amount of smoke that makes its way into your lungs
“The particles in wood smoke tend to be quite small,” said Cabaj. “They can penetrate deeply into the lungs and cause inflammation.”
Conditions have gotten so bad in the city that the CFD has called a fire ban for the first time ever in these type of conditions.
Residents are being told not to use backyard firepits, recreational campfires, and indoor wood-burning fireplaces as well.
Officials say smoke from those devices will only make conditions over the city even worse.
“It’s very rare. This is the first time in my career that we’ve actually issued a ban due to poor air quality, even though it is in the bylaw that we have the power to do that,” said Fire Marshal Ed Kujat with the Calgary Fire Department.
Anyone caught violating the fire ban could face a fine of up to $10,000.
As for current air quality, it’s sitting at 10+, literally off the charts in terms of severity which only goes from 0 to 10.
Environment Canada says Calgary is expected to drop from the ‘very high risk’ level down to about an 8 out of 10, a ‘high risk’ level.
The smoke is continuing to make an impact on social media as well, with #yycsmoke being the number one trending hashtag in the city right now.