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Wildfire smoke moving back into Grande Prairie area

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Thick wildfire smoke is expected to return to Peace Country skies. A special air quality statement has again been issued for the Grande Prairie – Beaverlodge – Valleyview region, as well as parts of Peace River – Fairview – High Prairie – Manning.

Environment Canada says a plume of smoke from more than 600 forest fires in British Columbia has moved into northwestern Alberta, leading to poor air quality and reduced visibility. The Peace Airshed Zone Association currently measures the Air Quality Health Index in Grande Prairie as 7 or high, and moderate in Beaverlodge and Rycroft at 5 and 4 respectively.

The smoky conditions could mean symptoms for some people, like coughing throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

“Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties,” advises Environment Canada. “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.”

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People with lung diseases like asthma and COPD can be especially sensitive to air pollution. The government says they will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels.

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