June 1, 2012

The following message was posted on the Wood Buffalo Air Information Line (1-866-685-3699) at 10am, Saturday, June 2nd:

This message is from the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association at 10am on Saturday, June 2nd.

As of 10am this morning, the areas of Fort McKay and Fort McMurray are experiencing elevated levels of particulate matter due to wildfire smoke blowing into the region.

The Air Quality Health Index in the community of Fort McKay, and in the Fort McKay South area, is currently showing a reading of 7 – which is High Risk. The Air Quality Health Index for Fort McMurray is also at 7 – again, High Risk.

Alberta Health Services issued the following Public Service Announcement on June 1st:

Due to a fire burning in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta Health Services is reminding residents in Fort Chipweyan, Fort MacKay and area of simple tips to reduce potential nose, eye and throat irritation, associated with smoke.

Smoke conditions can vary with weather conditions and prevailing winds. If smoke conditions become more severe, even healthy individuals may experience irritation of eyes, throat and possibly shortness of breath. All residents and visitors to the area are advised to monitor their own health and adapt their activities as necessary.

Individuals experiencing irritation should monitor their symptoms, and may also consider the following precautions to minimize exposure:

  • Reduce levels of physical activity indoors and outdoors, as necessary, to decrease inhalation of odour-heavy air;
  • Consider sheltering indoors with windows closed.

Seniors, children, pregnant women and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions (such as COPD and asthma), and/or cardiovascular conditions (including angina, previous heart attack and/or congestive heart failure), may be more likely to experience irritation related to smoke conditions. These individuals are reminded to take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians when managing a change in symptoms.

Individuals experiencing symptoms can also call Health Link Alberta 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-408-5465.

For more information on wildfires, please contact the local Fire Information Officer at 780-799-9253, or visit the Parks Canada website at www.pc.gc.ca.

For more information, and to view the Air Quality Health Index which is updated every hour, please log on to www.wbea.com.

This information line will be updated as the wildfire situation continues. Please check back for further updates.