News / Calgary

Air quality in Calgary poses high risk as wildfire smoke settles

On Monday, it was hard to see Calgary's signature skyline through the haze after smoke from the Banff area and British Columbia's forest fires blew in

Smoke from the fires burning in British Columbia and Banff blew into Calgary on Monday, July 17, 2017.

Helen Pike/ Metro

Smoke from the fires burning in British Columbia and Banff blew into Calgary on Monday, July 17, 2017.

It's a hazy Monday. 

Forest fires still burning in the Banff National Park and central British Columbia areas are causing low visibility, visible smoke and elevated risk on the Air Quality Health Index. 

An Alert issued by Environment Canada states that children, seniors and people with lung diseases like asthma and COPD may have more serious health effects due to the air quality, which may lead to increased use of medication, hospital visits and emergency room visits. For the general public, expect symptoms like coughing, increased throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. 

The air quality forecast sees the health risk in Calgary go from high to moderate, returning to low overnight.  

If you have breathing difficulties, it's best to stay inside. The best place to be is in an indoor space that's cool and ventilated. Windows should be kept closed to keep the polluted air out.

What's not going to help is wearing a mask. According to the advisory a mask isn't the best way to protect your health and can lead to a false sense of security – oh, and it can make breathing more difficult.

Air Quality is expected to improve from north to south today, but areas closer to the foothills may see elevated AQHI values. 

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