Edmonton

Special air quality statement issued for most of Alberta due to wildfire smoke

The smoke was expected to last into Friday night, but the weather agency issued another special air quality statement Saturday.

Air quality health risk could range from moderate to very high: Environment Canada

Walterdale Bridge was under hazy skies in Edmonton as Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement. (Mirna Djukic/CBC Radio-Canada)

An air quality statement has been issued for most of Alberta as wildfire smoke continues to blow through the region.

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement earlier this week for various parts of the province, including Edmonton, because the Air Quality Health Index would reach high risk levels.

The smoke was expected to last into Friday night, but the weather agency issued another special air quality statement Saturday.

Only the northern tip of Alberta and Grand Prairie and Fort Chipewyan areas are not under the weather advisory.

The affected regions are warned that wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. The rating on the health index for the various regions ranges from moderate to very high risk.

In Edmonton, the air health quality index was at 8 as of 11 a.m., but is expected to increase to 9 later Saturday night. Both are in the 'high risk' range of the index.

Air conditions in the city are expected to last at least through Sunday.

When the air quality index surpasses 7, Environment Canada suggests reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities, especially for children and seniors or those experiencing a cough or irritated throat. 

Albertans are advised to reduce their exposure to the smoke, as wildfire smoke is a "constantly-changing" mix or particles and gasses, including chemicals that can harm a person's health, Environment Canada said in its statement.

According to the province's wildfire map, there are currently 72 wildfires burning in Alberta: 34 are under control, 32 are being held and six are out of control.

Meanwhile, southeast Alberta is also under a heat warning and parts of western Alberta were under a thunderstorm watch Saturday.

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