Forest fires in northwestern Ontario prompt air quality warning
Wildfire officials say 3 fires started within minutes of each other Saturday evening near Pikangikum
Environmental officials have issued an air quality advisory in northwestern Ontario that includes three First Nations, due to forest fires burning in the region.
The advisory includes Pikangikum, Poplar Hill and MacDowell Lake. Officials with Environment and Climate Change Canada said Tuesday morning that elevated levels of air pollution are expected from smoke plumes, particularly from a fire west of Poplar Hill.
People may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath, officials said. Children, seniors and people with cardiovascular or lung disease, like asthma, are especially prone.
The compromised conditions are expected throughout Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.
Four fires were reportedly active in the area Tuesday morning, including a 27 hectare fire that forest fire officials said was human-caused.
That fire is just northeast of Pikangikum at the community's dump site, according to Ontario's Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services. An air tanker helped fire crews stop the fire from spreading. Three other small fires were also reported within the community over the weekend and were still active Tuesday morning.
A restricted fire zone remained in effect for most of northwestern Ontario on Tuesday.