Edmonton

'No danger': Wildfire haze drifts over Fort McMurray

A thick blanket of smoke is hanging over the Fort McMurray region Friday as haze from a wildfire in Wood Buffalo National Park blows into the area.

The smoke is expected to put residents in the community on edge

A firefighter extinguishes a hotspot in the Fort McMurray fire in May of 2016. Smoke has moved into the region again, but officials say there is no risk to the city. (Government of Alberta)

A thick blanket of smoke is hanging over the Fort McMurray region as haze from a wildfire in Wood Buffalo National Park blows into the area.

The smoke is drifting from a fire between Lake Claire and Mamawi Lake, roughly 220 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, according to a bulletin from Alberta Forestry.  

The sister lakes are just a few kilometres south of the community of Fort Chipewyan.

Brad Grainger, deputy fire chief for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, said the wildfire poses no risk to Fort Chipewyan or to the city of Fort McMurray.

By noon Friday, the smoke was concentrated over the community of Fort McKay and oilsands plants north of the city, where it was reducing visibility on local roads and affecting air quality.

The air-quality health index in the Fort McKay region was rated as a high risk Friday.

Those experiencing difficulty breathing are advised to avoid strenuous activity and to stay indoors when possible. 

Smoky conditions are expected to continue throughout the day Friday.

 

The wildfire danger in the Wood Buffalo region is classified as very high. Temperatures in the 20s and a lack of rain have created dry conditions in the boreal forest.

The risk will remain until the region receives a significant amount of rain, officials said.

The smoke is expected to put residents in the community on edge.

People who are feeling anxious are encouraged to call the municipality's mental-health help line at 1-877-303-2642.

A ferocious wildfire breached city limits in May 2016, destroying 2,500 residences and forcing the evacuation of Fort McMurray.