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UPDATE – 11:00AM, WEDNESDAY, MAY 4, 2016

The city of Fort McMurray remains under a mandatory evacuation order due to wildfires burning in the community. At this time all WBEA staff are accounted for and safe.

All of the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association’s (WBEA) Air Monitoring Stations remain intact and operating. However, due to the evacuation order, WEBA technicians are not able to respond to equipment that has been saturated with smoke. Please note that we are remotely monitoring data, particularly from our Patricia McInnes, Athabasca Valley, Fort McKay and Fort McKay South stations. We are continuing to monitor the systems and have high confidence in all of the data reported at this time.

The following the following bulleted info was provided to WBEA by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health this morning:

Summary:

  • Fires have necessitated an evacuation of Fort McMurray, and smoke will continue to impact air quality in Fort McKay, Anzac and surrounding areas.
  • Air Quality Monitoring stations in the Fort McMurray region are identifying exceedances of Carbon Monoxide and Ozone in the ambient air, an expected outcome of structural building fires.
  • Directions of emergency management personal take precedence over the air quality advisory. The air quality advisory remains in effect in this region, people who are sheltered away from the path of the fire should avoid going outdoors.
  • Standing messaging from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency advises individuals to seek medical attention if they experience breathing difficulties.
  • Fires near Fort St John BC are not thought be impacting ground level air quality around the Peace River area and air quality issues are not likely for that region today. A fire burning Northwest of Peace River does not seem to be having ground level impacts on air quality.
  • The Meteorological Service of Canada still has the special weather statement for heat for the province of Alberta. This is not a heat warning, but a notification to the inhabitants of the province that it will be unseasonably warm at least through today.

Next Steps:

  • Air Quality Monitoring is happening remotely at Fort McMurray.
  • Air quality throughout the province will continue to be monitored by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health. AHQI forecasts for the province outside of those areas impacted by the Fort McMurray fire are low to moderate risk for today and tomorrow.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is currently in the HIGH RISK category. Please click for air quality health index health messages and advice. Individuals experiencing health symptoms related to air quality can contact Health Link Alberta (toll-free) at 1.866.408.LINK (5465), to speak to a registered nurse.

Smoke forecasting can be viewed here: http://www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html

For up-to-date emergency information and instructions, please visit: http://www.emergencyalert.alberta.ca/.

Residents can also stay informed via the following online resources:

Regional Municipality Twitter feed: @rmwoodfuffalo
Alberta Emergency Alert Twitter feed: @AB_Emergencyalert
Country 93.3 Twitter feed: @Country933
RMWB Emergency Services: @RMWBEmergMngt

CBC Radio is still the only on-air station in Fort McMurray. For coverage and the latest updates, tune in to 99.3FM.

WBEA will continue to update this page as information becomes available. All residents are encouraged to stay updated and follow instructions from local emergency response personnel.