Environmental News Update: Air Quality Alert for Sioux Lookout

Air Quality Alert

Sioux Lookout – WEATHER – Smoke from forest fires in northern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Current Air Quality Conditions

The poor air quality is expected to persist throughout today in Sioux Lookout. However, there is hope for gradual improvement tonight, with conditions likely to ameliorate from the southwest.

Fluctuating Air Quality and Health Risks

Air quality and visibility can fluctuate significantly over short distances and vary from hour to hour due to the wildfire smoke.

Health Impacts and Protective Measures

Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. Everyone can take action to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke.

  • High-Risk Groups and Management Plans Individuals with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke. Speak with your health care provider about developing a management plan for wildfire smoke events and maintaining a supply of necessary medications at home and always carrying these medications with you during wildfire season.
  • Responding to Health Issues Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you or someone in your care feel unwell. Contact your health care provider or local health authority if you develop severe symptoms or need advice.
  • Indoor Air Quality Measures If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the highest rated MERV filter for your system (ideally rated 13 or higher) and set the fan to recirculate air constantly. You can also use a portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner. Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.
  • Finding Clean Air Locations Take a break from the smoke at a location in your community where you can find clean, cool air.
  • Outdoor Protection with Respirator Masks If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.
  • Support and Check on Vulnerable Individuals Be sure to check on people in your care and those around you who may be more susceptible to smoke.

Indoor Air Pollution Reduction

  • Minimizing Indoor Air Pollution Reduce sources of indoor air pollution. If you can, avoid smoking or vaping indoors, burning incense and candles, frying foods, using wood stoves and vacuuming. Dust on indoor surfaces can be removed by wiping and wet mopping during a pollution episode.

Mental Health Support

  • Addressing Emotional Well-being If you experience any feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, contact your mental health care provider for advice or visit https://www.wellnesstogether.ca/en-CA.

Stay informed about the air quality situation and take necessary precautions to protect your health and well-being during this period of poor air quality in Sioux Lookout.

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