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Wildfire smoke covers Calgary’s sky, city declares a fire advisory

Calgary is on alert today as wildfire smoke has started to cover the city.

The City of Calgary and other organizations are recommending citizens take precautions to stay safe during these hazy hours.

The wildfire smoke will be at its peak today, scoring a 10+ on the Air Quality Health Index, but is forecasted to start clearing out by tonight, with continued clearing on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Calgary has issued a fire advisory, recommending that all residents stay vigilant of the reduced visibility and air quality.

“Citizens are asked to use extra caution and avoid the use of open flames, fire pits and campfires whenever possible. The current fire conditions in the Calgary area are considered moderate but may change as the warm, windy conditions continue with limited precipitation expected,” read a Calgary Fire Department statement.

“If conditions change, the city may move to a Fire Restriction or Fire Ban as needed. Smoke from wildfires can fluctuate quickly and vary across localized areas.”

According to the Government of Canada, residents who are most at risk are:

  • Seniors
  • Pregnant people
  • Infants and young children
  • People who work outdoors
  • People involved in strenuous outdoor exercise
  • People with an existing illness or chronic health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, mental illness, or lung/heart conditions.

The Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District have also issued their own warnings.

The CBE recommends that any schools should reduce or reschedule any strenuous activities outside. They also recommended that schools consider indoor recess and lunch supervision for students.

The CSSD will be leaving any changes to outdoor activities to their respective principal’s discretion but does recommend that students and guardians take a look at the real-time air quality index visual map, and the recommendations that come with it.

Mount Royal University will be taking multiple steps to reduce risk on its campus. Some of these steps include enabling air handling smoke protocols, monitoring air quality outside, and enabling HVAC air filtration systems.

The University of Calgary will be following the recommendations of local authorities for the time being.

If you will be going outside, here are some recommendations you can take to reduce smoke risk:

  • Limit your time outdoors- If you must be outdoors, consider using a well-fitted mask, such as the N95 to reduce exposure to smoke particles.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your throat and nose moist.
  • Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you or someone in your care start to feel unwell.
  • Lastly, check the Air Quality Health Index and monitor your symptoms.