Raising air quality concerns across Alberta

Fraser River

Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.

Schultz said the smoke has nowhere to go and is just hanging out in the high level of the atmosphere.

Air quality map key: Green is good, yellow is moderate, orange is unsafe for sensitive groups, red is unhealthy and purple is very unhealthy.

Lysyshyn said VCH doesn't actively monitor the number of hospital or doctor visits associated with air quality advisories, but said "we know that when air quality reaches this type of level, that people do have exacerbations of respiratory problems, of heart problems and of other illnesses".

But, Yu said it doesn't matter what direction the wind comes from, because smoke is drifting all over the province and into Alberta. Officials said fires from British Columbia also are sending smoke our way.

Street lights had not clicked off as of 8 a.m., drivers used their headlights on the way to work, and the smell of smoke hung heavy in the air.

When the air is unhealthy, everyone should limit time outdoors and avoid strenuous activities outdoors. Their advice? The air sucks right now, as you can probably tell by looking out your window. Use an indoor air filter if available. If you must drive, keep the windows closed.

N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution.

During a wildfire, air quality is volatile and subject to rapid change over short durations. Check the air quality forecast regularly at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's website. This is especially important if you have health concerns, are elderly, are pregnant, or have a child in your care.

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