Smoke from the British Columbia fires have spread throughout Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan.
The more than 120 wildfires smouldering throughout the interior of the west coast province has created poor air quality in British Columbia and now in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
An air quality warning has been issued by Environment Canada in regards to the smoke that can now be seen hanging over the province.
According to Environment Canada, much of the smoke in the air is caused by forest fires in the “vicinity of Banff National Park and central British Columbia.”
While the air quality is expected to improve, Environment Canada believes a poor Air Quality Health Index will persist closer to the Foothills.
NASA has also been tracking the smoke from the forest fires. In photos taken by the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite on July 11, the smoke from the fires has already spread over the Rockies and settling over Alberta.
Another photo taken by NASA on July 15 shows a grey plumb of smoke arcing over the mountains towards the Prairies.
Parts of Alberta were under an air quality warning late last week.
It is expected parts of Manitoba will experience hazy, smoky skies as early as Monday afternoon.
An air quality report released by the Weather Network says there is moderate risk for the air surrounding Red Deer.
Poor air quality as a result of the smoke may cause “symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.”
Those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, children and seniors are particularly at risk, according to Environment Canada.
Those with lung disease may find the smoke will aggravate the disease which can lead to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits as well as hospital visits.
In a press release from Environment Canada on July 17, people are warned against using a mask when leaving the house.
The press release states wearing a mask is not the best way to protect ones health during a “smoke event.”
“In fact, masks may lead to a false sense of security, which may encourage increased physical activity and time spent outdoors, meaning increased exposure to smoke. They can also make breathing more difficult,” the release stated.
It is recommended to stay indoors when possible. Environment Canada suggests being in a well ventilated cool space during times of poor air quality.
It is not recommended to open windows during times of poor air quality, as it will allow the smoke to enter the house.
“Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. … If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned,” Environment Canada suggests.
The website, www.firesmoke.ca, is taking the smoke from the British Columbia fires. Those interested can visit the website to see when the smoke is expected to at its worst for their region.