The Air Quality Health Index for Red Deer as of Tuesday morning is showing a low health risk, however it is forecast to rise substantially on Wednesday due to wildfire smoke.
The AQHI index has values on a scale of 1 to 10+. The value Tuesday is 3, and expected to remain so tonight. However, the maximum forecast for Wednesday is 9.
The following is a special air quality statement issued by Environment Canada at 4:07 a.m. on Tuesday for Red Deer – Ponoka – Innisfail – Stettler.
“Forest fires in BC are generating huge amounts of smoke over western Canada. A cold front has flushed a lot of the smoke out of the province, but the smoke will once again cross the Rockies tonight and Wednesday.
Due to the smoke, the AQHI will likely reach 10, or high risk, in parts of Central Alberta on Wednesday. There is some uncertainty as to where the thickest smoke will set up, but current indications are that the corridor of thickest smoke and poorest air quality will be between Hinton, Red Deer, and Edmonton.
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.
In general, wearing a mask is not the best way to protect your health during a smoke event. In fact, masks may lead to a false sense of security, which may encourage increased physical activity and time spent outdoors, meaning increased exposure to smoke. They can also make breathing more difficult.
People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.
Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.”
Special air quality statement in effect for:
Camrose Co. near Bashaw and Meeting Creek
City of Red Deer
Co. of Paintearth near Halkirk and Big Knife Prov. Park
Co. of Stettler near Big Valley
Co. of Stettler near Botha and Gadsby
Co. of Stettler near Byemoor and Endiang
Co. of Stettler near Donalda
Co. of Stettler near Stettler Nevis and Rochon Sands
Flagstaff Co. near Forestburg and Galahad
Lacombe Co. near Clive Alix and Mirror
Lacombe Co. near Eckville
Lacombe Co. near Lacombe Blackfalds and Bentley
Ponoka Co. near Ponoka and Maskwacis
Red Deer Co. near Elnora Lousana and Delburne
Red Deer Co. near Penhold Innisfail and Bowden
Red Deer Co. near Pine Lake
Red Deer Co. near Spruce View and Red Lodge Prov. Park
Red Deer Co. near Sylvan Lake and Stephansson House
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.