Wildfire smoke causing poor air quality in southeastern Manitoba, Environment Canada says
'I don't want to go outside — it makes me sick,' resident of Little Grand Rapids says
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for a large portion of southeastern and south-central Manitoba, including the City of Winnipeg, due to smoky conditions caused by forest fires.
People living or travelling in affected areas should watch for potential health concerns, the agency said in a 12:10 p.m. CT statement. It added additional communities to its advisory shortly after 6 p.m. CT
Residents and travellers are reporting decreased visibility.
People may experience increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.
Young children, seniors, pregnant people and those with heart and lung diseases including asthma face an increased risk.
The province's health department says the effects of smoke depends on the concentration of smoke in the air, how long people are exposed and individual health status.
The province reported 25 active fires burning in Manitoba as of Thursday, with highest fire activity east of Lake Winnipeg, the Gods Lake and Island Lake regions.
Dry weather through the weekend. If you are camping, watch open fires carefully. Dispose of cigarettes carefully. It's so dry. Rain on the horizon later on Monday after a hot, humid, and windy day <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcmb?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cbcmb</a> <a href="https://t.co/FcGYiLhOB2">pic.twitter.com/FcGYiLhOB2</a>—@johnsauderCBC
Provincial fire crews were focusing their efforts on fires near the communities of Poplar River, Red Sucker Lake, Little Grand Rapids and Gods Lake Narrows, the province said in a fire update report on Thursday.
Darlene Keeper, who is living in Little Grand Rapids, said Saturday evening she's worried about the fires burning near the community and the resulting smoke.
"I just opened my door and smoke is seeping in ... (it's) staying low to the ground," she said.
"I don't want to go outside — it makes me sick," said Keeper. "I have four kids here. I'm pretty worried."
Little Grand Rapids is located about 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Winds are also pushing smoke and ash from forest fires in northwest Ontario into Manitoba, the Manitoba government said in an email statement.
Record-setting dry conditions and minimal precipitation is keeping firefighters on their toes.
The province has seen at least 175 fires so far this year.
The Environment Canada special air quality statement is in effect for:
- Berens River - Little Grand Rapids - Bloodvein - Atikaki.
- Bissett - Victoria Beach - Nopiming Prov. Park - Pine Falls.
- City of Winnipeg.
- Dugald - Beausejour - Grand Beach.
- Morden - Winkler - Altona - Morris.
- Poplar River.
- Portage la Prairie - Headingley - Brunkild - Carman.
- Selkirk - Gimli - Stonewall - Woodlands.
- Sprague - Northwest Angle Provincial Forest.
- Steinbach - St. Adolphe - Emerson - Vita - Richer.
- Whiteshell - Lac du Bonnet - Pinawa.