May 31, 2012

The following message was posted on the Wood Buffalo Air Information Line (1-866-685-3699) at 10pm on Friday, June 1st:

This message is from the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association at 10pm on Friday, June 1st.

As of 10pm this evening, the community of Fort McKay and surrounding area is 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 is currently showing a reading of more than 10 – which is Very High Risk. And the Air Quality Health Index for Fort McKay South is showing a reading of 9 – which is High Risk.

Alberta Health Services issued the following Public Service Announcement earlier today:

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.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

There are currently two fires burning in the region. One is burning approximately four kilometers north east of Fort Chipewyan and is 0.01 hectares in size and is classified as being held. The other is burning west of Supertest Hill and is 1.4 hectares in size and is classified as being held as well. There are no out of control fires in the area and no communities or industrial sites are being threatened.

For more information, please contact the Fire Information Officer at 1-867-872-0107, 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.

Click to view: Environment & Sustainable Resource Development Wildfire Danger Update – June 1, 2012

Click to view: Alberta Health Services Public Service Announcement – June 1, 2012