Smoke from forest fires is expected to fill the sky for much of Manitoba again on Wednesday, prompting Environment Canada to continue a special air quality statement for most of the province, including the City of Winnipeg.
Manitoba Conservation says there are currently 154 active fires burning across the province. "Fire dangers over the next two days will range from moderate to high across the north, and will be high to extreme in the south half of the province," the government agency says in its latest report on Monday. There were 17 new fires reported the first few days in the province. Four First Nations and three Northern Affairs communities remain evacuated due to smoke and loss of hydro electric power.
From Environment Canada
Forest fires across the central and northern Prairies are sending plumes of smoke throughout much of Manitoba. The densest smoke will be in the vicinity and downwind of the fires. Southwesterly winds over southern regions may help to push the worst of the smoky air back into central regions this morning, although a shift to north winds could bring smoke back into the south later tonight or Thursday.
Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
Due to the smoky conditions, individuals living in or travelling to affected areas are advised to be aware of potential health concerns that can be associated with current air conditions. In these current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.
In areas affected by smoke from wildland fires, Manitobans are encouraged to:
- limit outdoor activity and/or strenuous physical activity; if breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity
- reduce exposure to smoke by staying indoors or moving to areas with cleaner air, as conditions can vary dramatically by area
- turn off furnaces and air-conditioning units that may draw smoke indoors
- keep indoor air cleaner by avoiding smoking or burning other materials
People at higher risk include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with heart or lung conditions (particularly asthma), and therefore should avoid as much exposure to smoke as possible.
Manitobans with health questions or concerns can contact their health-care provider or call Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. More information on the health effects of smoke is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/smoke.html.
If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health. For more details, please consult www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html.
Current air quality statements
Areas in grey are under the special air quality statement.