Smoke from wildfires in B.C. is affecting the air in the Alberta Peace Country. Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement, warning the smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility.
As of 3 p.m. on August 7th, both the Alberta government and the Peace Airshed Zone Association have recorded the Air Quality Health Index for Grande Prairie as a 4.0 and Rycroft as 5.0, which are considered moderate conditions. Environment Canada notes that during a wildfire, “smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.”
Poor air quality can reportedly lead to coughing, throat irritation, headaches, or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and people with cardiovascular or lung disease are especially at risk.
“Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties,” the government says. “Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.”
Hundreds of wildfires are burning across British Columbia. A team of 20 wildland firefighters from the Grande Prairie area were deployed to help last week.