Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released 2018 third quarter Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results today. The Government of Alberta calculates the AQHI using data collected at seven of FAP’s air monitoring stations. Although many of FAP’s stations registered a historic level of high and very high risk readings in August 2018, overall air quality in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland was of low risk to health the majority of the time from July 1 to September 30, 2018.
Low risk AQHI levels were recorded at least 82% of the time during the third quarter of 2018, with Elk Island having the highest percentage of low risk readings and Fort Saskatchewan the lowest. Risk to health increases as the index rises. During this time period 658 hours were recorded at the high risk level across the network, and 74 hours in the very high risk level. All high and very high risk AQHI occurrences were due to forest fire smoke, predominantly from wildfires burning in British Columbia.
As a comparison, results from the third quarter of 2017 are provided below.
The major difference in results between the third quarters of 2018 and 2017 can be attributed to poor air quality conditions from forest fire smoke from August 7-26, 2018. During August 15-16 alone FAP stations recorded 252 hours of high or very high risk AQHI.