A wildfire has forced the closure of several campgrounds, recreation areas, and parts of Hwy 11 and other areas west of Nordegg.
As well, increasing forest fire smoke led Alberta Health Services to issue an air quality advisory on Thursday.
The Spreading Creek wildfire is currently about 14,000 acres in size and being fought with 87 firefighters, six helicopters and various heavy equipment are fighting t, which is classified as “being held.”
The fire started after lightning struck a tree on Sunday about 50 km west of Nordegg on Hwy 11.
Thompson Creek public recreation area was closed on Monday, but Thursday the Cavalcade group use, Two O’clock Creek, Kootenay Plains Ecological reserve and Siffleur Falls staging area and trail were added to the closures due to the wildfire.
Smoke advisories were also issued Thursday for Thompson Creek, Two O’clock Creek, Crescent Falls, Snow Creek, Dry Haven, Goldeye and Fish Lake provincial recreation areas as well as the Siffleur Falls staging area and trail, Cavalcade group use and Kootenay Plains Ecological reserve.
Hwy 11 has been closed off and on at various points throughout the week. Though it was open as of Thursday, sections between Whirlpool Point and Saskatchewan River Crossing have been closed as part of the fire.
Alberta Health Services issued the air quality advisory as a result of smoke from forest fires in Alberta, Northwest Territories, and B.C. being blown into the area.
According to AHS, minor smoke conditions do no typically cause health concerns in healthy individuals, but if smoke conditions become more severe, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat and possible shortness of breath.
Individuals with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and individuals with cardiovascular conditions, angina, prior heart attacks and congestive heart failure, may notice a worsening of conditions. These individuals should monitor for worsening of symptoms and take necessary precautions.
Anyone who can taste and/or smell smoke in the air should monitor their symptoms, minimize physical activity outdoors and consider staying inside with windows, doors and outdoor air circulation fans and vents closed.
Anyone experiencing symptoms can call Health Link Alberta at any time at 1-866-408-5465 to speak to a registered nurse.
This air quality advisory will remain in effect until further notice. For more information about the air quality visit www.airquality.alberta.ca.