Wildfire Smoke Causes Air Quality Alert for Southern Manitoba including City of Winnipeg

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Air Quality Alert

WINNIPEG – CLIMATE – A wildfire north of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan has caused air quality alerts for much of southern Saskatchewan and now Southern Manitoba.

Special air quality statement in effect for:

  • City of Winnipeg

Smoke from wildfires north of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan are affecting portions of western, central and southern Manitoba tonight as winds turn northerly behind an advancing cold front. Smoke is expected to increase in concentration tonight and persist through much of the night. On Friday, rather light winds will see stagnant, smoky conditions to persist through much of the day with gradual dispersion into Friday night.

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.

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

Due to the smoky conditions, individuals living in or travelling to the above noted 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.

Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.