Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Special Air Quality Statement Issued for Edmonton and Surrounding Areas

By Fatih Sahin May11,2024

Edmonton and its neighboring regions are under the grip of a Special Air Quality Statement, issued due to the infiltration of wildfire smoke from northeastern British Columbia. The resultant poor air quality coupled with reduced visibility has prompted authorities to issue this alert, urging residents to take necessary precautions.

As per Environment Canada’s detailed forecast, today’s weather in Edmonton forecasts widespread smoke, with winds expected to become northerly at 20 km/h, gusting to 40 km/h by the morning. The high for the day is anticipated to reach 21°C, with a UV index of 6 or high. Tonight, the smoke is expected to persist, with temperatures dropping to a low of 9°C.

Looking ahead to Sunday, May 12th, the forecast indicates that the widespread smoke will begin dispersing in the morning, giving way to a mix of sun and cloud. Temperatures are expected to rise, with a high of 25°C anticipated, along with a UV index of 6 or high. Nighttime will bring cloudy periods, with temperatures around 10°C.

However, it’s imperative for residents to remain vigilant as the smoke conditions are anticipated to persist over northwestern Alberta through Monday or possibly Tuesday, according to Environment Canada. This underscores the importance of taking proactive measures to mitigate the health risks associated with wildfire smoke.

The detrimental health effects of wildfire smoke are not to be underestimated, particularly for vulnerable groups such as those with lung or heart diseases, older adults, children, pregnant individuals, and outdoor workers. It’s crucial for individuals falling into these categories to consult with their healthcare providers regarding the development of a management plan for wildfire smoke events and ensuring a steady supply of necessary medications.

In addition to vulnerable groups, everyone is urged to take steps to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke. This includes monitoring the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), reducing outdoor activities if breathing becomes uncomfortable, utilizing HVAC systems with high-efficiency filters, and seeking clean air spaces within the community.

For those who must venture outdoors, wearing a well-fitted respirator type mask, such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent, can help mitigate exposure to fine smoke particles. However, it’s important to note that respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases present in wildfire smoke.

Moreover, indoor air pollution should not be overlooked during such episodes. Minimizing activities that contribute to indoor pollution, such as smoking or vaping indoors, burning incense or candles, and frying foods, can help maintain better indoor air quality.

Residents are encouraged to remain updated on alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada and to seek further information and guidance from relevant authorities, such as Alberta Health Services.

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