August 1, 2014

As of 10am this morning, wildfire smoke is blowing into the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, causing elevated levels of Particulate Matter.

There are currently 9 wildfires burning in the Fort McMurray Wildfire Management Area, and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development is actively assessing and constantly monitoring the situation at this time. For more information, please contact the local Fire Information Officer at 780-743-7265, or click to view the current wildfire update for the Fort McMurray area.

The Air Quality Health Index for today is forecasted to be “high health risk” in the communities of Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Fort McMurray and Anzac.

The following health advisory from Alberta Health & Wellness is currently in effect for the North Zone:

Residents of, and visitors to, the North Zone are advised to remain aware and take precautions against potential health concerns that can be associated with smokey air conditions.

Although minor smoke conditions do not usually cause problems in healthy individuals, if smoke conditions become more severe, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.

If you can taste and/or smell smoke in the air you should:

– monitor your symptoms

– minimize physical activity outdoors

– consider remaining indoors with windows, doors and outdoor air circulation fans/vents closed

Individuals with respiratory conditions (such as COPD and asthma), and individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions (such as angina, previous heart attack and congestive heart failure) may notice a worsening of symptoms, due to smokey air conditions. These individuals should monitor for worsening symptoms and take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians.

Individuals experiencing symptoms can can contact Health Link Alberta to speak to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Air quality varies with weather conductions and prevailing winds. Because air quality is expected to remain variable across the north zone, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.