Calgary's Air Quality Health Index hits 10+ as province remains blanketed by smoke

The forecast for Sunday is a level nine on the index — also high risk.

The forecast for Sunday is a level 9 on the index — also high risk.

The grey areas of this map show areas under a special air quality statement from Environment Canada. (Environment Canada)

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning in B.C. continues to blanket western Canada, with Alberta remaining under a special air quality advisory for a third day.

The Air Quality Health Index in Calgary was listed at 10+ — or very high risk, the highest possible rating — early Saturday morning. It had dropped slightly to a 10, or high risk, by 9 a.m.

It had dropped even further to a four, moderate risk, Saturday evening.

The forecast for Sunday is a level eight on the index — also high risk.

With such poor air quality, the federal weather authority is warning those most at risk, including children, seniors and people with cardiovascular or respiratory illness. They're encouraged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities entirely.

Infants in particular should be protected and pregnant women should be careful to avoid exposure as well.

The forecast in Calgary calls for a high of 20 C on Saturday with an overnight low of 9 C. Sunday's forecast is for a high of 18 C and a 60 per cent chance of showers in the evening. 

"Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that's cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help," reads a statement. "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."

In British Columbia, the province declared a state of emergency as at least 566 fires were burning this week. More than 3,000 people were under evacuation order, and a further 18,720 were on evacuation alert.

Smoke drifting across the Prairies

Smoke from B.C. wildfires has wafted east across the Prairies, putting the entire province of Alberta as well as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of Ontario under air quality advisories.

Almost all of B.C. is also included in the special air quality advisories.

Environment and Climate Change Canada offers a map online that shows where wildfire smoke is predicted to drift.