Manitoba

Wildfire smoke reducing air quality in northern Manitoba: Environment Canada

Wildfire smoke that's prompted evacuations from several northern Manitoba communities is expected to cause problems over much of the north in the coming days.
The Wasagamack fire as of Sunday, Sept. 3. (Wasagamack Chief Alex McDougall/Submitted)

Wildfire smoke that's prompted evacuations from several northern Manitoba communities is expected to cause problems over much of the north in the coming days. 

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement for communities in northeastern and northwestern Manitoba Sunday afternoon. 

The affected areas: 

  • Flin Flon — Cranberry Portage — Snow Lake   
  • Gillam   
  • Island Lake — Oxford House — Gods Lake   
  • Shamattawa   
  • Swan River — Duck Mountain — Porcupine Provincial Forest   
  • The Pas — Wanless — Westray — Clearwater Lake Provincial Park

"We'll have a northwesterly flow for the next few days, it looks like it doesn't switch until Tuesday evening to southwest. So with the northwesterlies ... most of the fires in Manitoba are to the north, and then they're in northern Saskatchewan as well. So the northwesterly winds are a bad wind direction, in that they're bringing in a lot of smoke," said Environment Canada meterologist Robyn Dyck. 

The Wasagamack fire as of Sunday, Sept. 3. (Wasagamack Chief Alex McDougall/Submitted)
Areas downwind of large fires, particularly through northeastern Manitoba including Island Lake and Gillam, will continue to see swaths of smoke and poor air quality, Environment Canada says. 

Northwest winds are pushing smoke plumes southward, the statement said. 

In areas with smoky conditions, people may experience coughing throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.

Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

The province advises people in affected areas to limit outdoor activities. 

​Over the next few days, the air could clear as a low-pressure system brings rain over the next few days. Dyck said Monday's rain over Island Lake could help the fire situation, and the storm is unlikely to bring lightning strikes that could start more fires.

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