Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug – WEATHER – Prepare for a weekend filled with challenges, including a mix of weather conditions and deteriorating air quality due to forest fires in northern Alberta. Here’s what you need to know:
Saturday, September 2, 2023 – Mixed Conditions
Expect a mixed bag of weather on Saturday with a blend of sun and clouds. There’s a 60 percent chance of showers in the afternoon, and the risk of a thunderstorm adds to the excitement. In the afternoon, local smoke is expected, creating reduced visibility. Wind will be coming in from the southwest at 20 km/h, gusting to 50 initially, but increasing to 40 gusting to 60 in the afternoon. The high temperature will reach 26°C, but it will feel like 30°C due to the humidity. The UV index will be at a moderate level, so don’t forget your sunscreen.
As the day turns into night, the skies will become partly cloudy, but there’s still a 40 percent chance of showers early in the evening. Local smoke will persist. Wind direction will shift to the west at 30 km/h, gusting to 50. The low temperature will drop to 15°C.
Sunday, September 3, 2023 – Clear Skies Ahead
Fortunately, Sunday brings better conditions. It will be a sunny day with clear skies. The high temperature will reach a more comfortable 24°C. It’s a chance to enjoy the outdoors without the complications of smoke or storms.
Air Pollution Alert – Saturday and Sunday
On Saturday and Sunday, anticipate high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires. These plumes of smoke will sweep across the Manitoba border near noon on Saturday and then gradually spread eastward. Reduced visibility and poor air quality are likely to be the stars of this show.
Health Concerns – Everyone Take Note!
Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health, even at low concentrations. It’s crucial to take action to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke. Special attention should be given to people with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant individuals, and those who work outdoors as they are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.
Health Tips and Precautions
- Speak with Your Healthcare Provider: If you fall into the high-risk category, speak with your healthcare provider about developing a management plan for wildfire smoke events. Ensure you have a supply of necessary medications at home, and always carry them with you during wildfire season.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water can help your body cope with the effects of smoke.
- Use Air Filtration: 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 consider using a portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner. Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.
- Seek Clean Air: Find a community location with clean, cool air if you need a break from the smoke.
- Respirator Masks: If you must be outdoors, consider 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. This can help reduce your exposure to fine particles in smoke. However, please note that respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke.
Monitoring and Care
Monitor your symptoms and the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). People react differently to smoke; mild irritation and discomfort are common but usually disappear when the smoke clears.
Indoor Air Quality
Reduce sources of indoor air pollution, such as 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.
However, please note that the air quality situation may fluctuate, so continue to monitor it for updates and take the necessary precautions to protect your health.
Stay safe and take care, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug! Your well-being is our priority, so please stay informed and stay indoors if air quality becomes a concern.