Special air quality warnings continue due to forest fires

If you smell smoke in Espanola, it is likely from the fires in the northwest.

With active forest fires in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba, Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for parts of the north including the Algoma and Sudbury Districts.

Nicole Lindahl from Algoma Public Health says smoke plumes from these active fires may result in deteriorated air quality across these areas.

She says the health unit cautions residents that air pollution from wildfire smoke can be harmful to health and aggravate heart or lung conditions.

Lindahl says common, mild symptoms of smoke exposure include sore and watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, mild coughing, or headache.

She adds people at higher risk may have more serious symptoms, like shortness of breath, severe wheezing or coughing, chest pain, or heart palpitations.

There are currently more than 130 fires burning in the northwest, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

The province has issued an emergency order covering the area, allowing special powers to protect people and critical property.

 

Those most at risk are:

*   Children

*   Elderly

*   Pregnant women

*   Anyone with a heart or lung condition

*   Anyone doing strenuous exercise or work

Lindahl adds there are some other ways to reduce your risk during possible wildfire smoke exposure:

*   Limit or avoid outdoor activity and strenuous physical activities

*   At home and in vehicles, keep your windows closed and set the ventilation system to recirculate

*   If you have asthma, COPD, or other breathing problems use your medication as prescribed by your doctor, and seek medical care if needed

*   Note: wearing a cloth or medical mask helps prevent infection from COVID-19, but these masks do not provide protection from wildfire smoke

Learn more about wildfire smoke, air quality and your health<https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html>.

For air quality health visit http://www.airhealth.ca/ and learn how reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels.

Meanwhile, officials in the B-C Interior are asking vacationers to stay away, as wildfires continue to ravage the area.

There are currently more than 250 blazes now burning across the province, and while that number is down, it hasn’t slowed flames burning in the hardest-hit areas.

The government has closed 32 provincial parks in the Interior region and is warning back-country travellers to re-book their trips if they’re planning to visit a zone under threat.

So far, 44-hundred properties have been evacuated, with residents of another 17-thousand ordered to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

 

PHOTO: MNRF water-bombers, ground crews and firefighters from across Ontario are converging in the northwest of Ontario due to the high volume of wildfires in the area. Photo provided by MNRF

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