June 29, 2015

Due to wildfires burning in the northern Alberta area, there is significant smoke throughout the region.

The Fort McMurray Wildfire Management Area is experiencing hot temperatures and winds that are drying out the forest. We are now in a VERY HIGH Wildfire Danger Level. There are not any communities at immediate risk due to wildfires at this time, however there is very heavy smoke in the region. Wood Buffalo residents are encouraged to read the full Air Quality Advisory issued for the North Zone of Alberta Health Services. The Air Quality Advisory offers the following health advice related to wildfire smoke:

Residents of the North Zone of AHS (including First Nation communities), and visitors to the North Zone of AHS, are advised to be aware of air conditions and take precautions against potential health concerns that can be associated with smoky air conditions. Although minor smoke conditions do not typically cause health concerns 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:

  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Minimize physical activity outdoors
  • Remain indoors with windows, doors and air circulation fans/vents closed
  • If you drive to another location, keep windows and vents closed
  • Run your car fan on re-circulate mode to avoid drawing in outdoor air

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 the current air conditions. These individuals should monitor for worsening of symptoms and take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians if a worsening of symptoms occurs.

For smoke related health concerns, please call Alberta Health Link at 811.

For additional information about Alberta’s ongoing wildfire situation visit http://srd.web.alberta.ca/fort-mcmurray-area-update