Take it easy, Wild Rose Province. Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a special air quality statement for parts of Alberta and there are a few things you need to know if you must leave the house today – especially in and around the Calgary area.
Expected to cause poor air quality and reduced visibility, the government recommends that during this time, you do your best to limit exposure to wildfire smoke as it can be harmful to your health, even at low concentrations.
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According to ECCC, people with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults and children as well as pregnant people and those who work outdoors are at a higher risk and should be extra mindful today in Calgary, Airdrie and Drayton Valley.
At the time of publication, the ECCC Air Quality Health Index rates the above cities a 10+, meaning people are at a higher risk of developing symptoms such as coughing or throat irritation if they go outdoors, while those in Edmonton were given a 5 and do not need to modify their usual activities unless they are experiencing the above symptoms.
“Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears,” they explain. “Drinking lots of water can help your body cope with the smoke.”
While it’s expected to improve by Wednesday, those affected should spend today indoors in an environment free of pollution caused by vaping, dust, candles or incense.
HEPA, HVAC systems and fans can be used to circulate and filter the air in their homes and doors and windows should be kept closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.
If you need to leave the house, a well-fitted respirator-type mask (such as a NIOSH-certified N95 or equivalent respirator) can be worn to help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke.
If you’d like to see the current smoke forecast across Canada, we’d recommend visiting this interactive map (which can be seen above).
Want to help those directly affected? We’ve put together a list of organizations supporting people who have recently had to evacuate their homes due to the Alberta Wildfires of 2023.