B.C. fires still affecting Manitoba air quality

The Mount McAllister fire, burning 56 kilometres west of Chetwynd, has grown to an estimated 20,000 hectares, up from around 5,000 hectares in size on Tuesday. HANDOUT / B.C. WILDFIRE MANAGEMENT BRANCH

Environment Canada and Manitoba Health  warn smoke from British Columbia forest fires will continue to affect air quality in Manitoba.

A Special air quality statement in effect for:

  • R.M. of Cartier incl. Elie St. Eustache and Springstein
  • R.M. of Dufferin incl. Carman Roseisle and Homewood
  • R.M. of Grey incl. St. Claude Elm Creek and Fannystelle
  • R.M. of Headingley
  • R.M. of Macdonald incl. Brunkild Starbuck and La Salle
  • R.M. of Portage la Prairie incl. St. Ambroise
  • R.M. of St. François Xavier

Smoke originating from forest fires in B.C. continue to give hazy skies through most of southern Manitoba today. Some localities will get reduced visibility in smoke as well as reduced air quality. These conditions will persist tonight and Saturday.

A general shift in the wind pattern aloft may bring widespread dense smoke into western Manitoba through the day on Saturday. Air quality may become very poor.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

Due to the smoky conditions, individuals living in or travelling to the above noted areas are advised to be aware of potential health concerns that can be associated with current air conditions. In these current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.

In areas affected by smoke from wildland fires, Manitobans are encouraged to:
– limit outdoor activity and/or strenuous physical activity; if breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity
– reduce exposure to smoke by staying indoors or moving to areas with cleaner air, as conditions can vary dramatically by area
– turn off furnaces and air-conditioning units that may draw smoke indoors
– keep indoor air cleaner by avoiding smoking or burning other materials

People at higher risk include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with heart or lung conditions (particularly asthma), and therefore should avoid as much exposure to smoke as possible.

Manitobans with health questions or concerns can contact their health-care provider or call Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. More information on the health effects of smoke is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/smoke.html

Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.

Issued by Environment Canada and Manitoba Health

 

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