Skies to clear this weekend, officials predict
Smoky conditions should clear up but air quality advisories still in effect
Friday, Jul 18, 2014 04:45 pm
The smoky haze left over St. Albert by forest fires up north should clear over the weekend, says Alberta Environment.
The city was blanketed in a thick, smoky haze Wednesday from forest fires ravaging the Northwest Territories.
Environment Canada issued special air quality statements Friday morning for a large portion of the province from Jasper National Park to Cold Lake.
The statement for Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park states that smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility in certain locations. These conditions were expected to remain for the next 24 to 48 hours.
This week’s rain helped dampen the fire hazard, notes Duncan MacDonell, public affairs officer with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.
Saturday’s forecast is cloudy with a 60 per cent of showers with a risk of thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening, reports Environment Canada. Sunday’s forecast is a mix of sun and cloud.
There is a slight risk of lightning strikes sparking a fire, notes MacDonnell, but “things are looking fairly calm through the weekend.”
The prevailing winds are still coming from the Northwest Territories, he adds. Wildfires are also burning in parts of British Columbia and Alberta.
As of Friday morning, there were 12 new wildfires reported in Alberta. Sixteen are currently burning.
Alberta Health Services expanded their precautionary air quality advisory for all communities in the north, Edmonton and central zones on July 10 due to the continuing impact of smoke on air quality.
Edmonton had an Air Quality Health Index rating of five on Friday morning, which correlates to moderate health risk.
At-risk individuals with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, angina, congestive heart failure or a history of heart attacks should consider rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if symptoms arise, says Alberta Health Services. Those in the general population do not need to modify their activities.
If you can taste and/or smell smoke in the air, Alberta Health Services says you should monitor your symptoms, minimize outdoor physical activity and consider remaining indoors with the windows, doors and outdoor air circulation fans/vents closed.
Air quality should become low risk by Saturday, Alberta Environment predicts.
Visit ersd.alberta.ca to find the air quality index for your area.