PIKANGIKUM – Forest fires are causing air quality issues in Northwestern Ontario. People in Kasabonika First Nation are also noticing the wood smoke in their community, although no air quality alerts are in effect.
Special air quality statement in effect for:
- Sandy Lake – Weagamow Lake – Deer Lake
- Pikangikum – Poplar Hill – MacDowell
Possible high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires is expected today and tonight.
Smoke plumes from numerous forest fires in the region are moving over the area. Forecast winds are expected to remain light out of the west or southwest today and tonight. Air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level.
These smoke plumes may affect the region for a few days.
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.
In general, wearing a mask is not the best way to protect your health during a smoke event. In fact, masks may lead to a false sense of security, which may encourage increased physical activity and time spent outdoors, meaning increased exposure to smoke. They can also make breathing more difficult.
Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.