Heavy snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada. (File photo)

Heavy snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada. (File photo)

Environment Canada issues air quality statement for central Alberta

Smoke blowing into central Alberta from wildfire in east Saskatchewan

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for central Alberta because of smoke drifting in from a Saskatchewan wildfire.

The wildfire near Hudson Bay, Sask., 330 km northeast of Saskatoon on the Manitoba border, is causing elevated values of fine particulate matter in parts of Alberta.

The statement covers the City of Red Deer and parts of Camrose, Flagstaff, Paintearth, Red Deer, Lacombe and Stettler counties.

Poor air quality and reduced visibility will continue for much of today, with conditions gradually improving from west to east.

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

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (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.

“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”

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.

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