The Fort McMurray wildfire and others burning in northern Alberta is causing high risk Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) readings throughout the Fort Air Partnership (FAP) airshed today (May 12). A precautionary air quality advisory for Alberta Health Services North Zone (which includes a portion of FAP’s airshed) remains in effect.
Readings this morning at our continuous air monitoring stations in Gibbons, Fort Saskatchewan, Lamont County, Bruderheim, and Elk Island National Park were at eight (high risk). The Lamont County station was reporting particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above the provincial guideline for several hours this morning. Natural sources of PM2.5 include dust and forest fires. PM2.5 is a respirable particulate that is less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs.
When the AQHI is high, it is recommended that at risk populations such as those with respiratory conditions, children and the elderly avoid, reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. Anyone experiencing coughing or throat irritation should consider reducing or rescheduling their strenuous outdoor activities. Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce health risk.
It is expected that a new smoke plume may hit our airshed at midnight, causing continued poor air quality. Local residents are encouraged to check our website often for current and forecast air quality conditions. We have a live data feed which the public can use to check near real time PM2.5 levels or other substances, and general health guidelines for the public regarding AQHI readings. We post any air quality health advisories that may be issued.