Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released 2022 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.
There were 99 hours of high and 3 hours of very high AQHI rating for the calendar quarter. These results were entirely a result of wildfire smoke entering the Airshed, mainly from western Alberta. The air monitoring stations at Gibbons (51 hours), Fort Saskatchewan (23 hours), and Elk Island (16 hours) recorded the most hours of high or very high AQHI results due to the wildfire smoke, while the Town of Lamont recorded the least (O hours).
For comparison, in the third quarter of 2021 there were 246 hours of high and 84 hours of very high AQHI rating for the calendar quarter. These results were almost entirely a result of wildfire smoke entering the Airshed from surrounding provinces. Only 11 hours (3.3%) of the high or very high AQHI hours were due to causes other than wildfire smoke. The air monitoring stations at Elk Island, Fort Saskatchewan, and Redwater recorded the most hours of high or very high AQHI results due to the wildfire smoke, while Gibbons recorded the least.
Air quality in the region was better in Q3 of 2022 compared to the same timeframe in 2021. In Q3 of 2022, there were 707 hours of moderate risk AHQI, 99 hours of high risk AQHI, and 3 hours of very high risk AQHI.
In Q3 of 2021, there were 1,163 hours of moderate risk AQHI, 246 hours of high risk AQHI, and 84 hours of very high AQHI.
In Q3 of 2020, there were only 234 hours of moderate risk and two hours of high risk AQHI.
Again, wildfire smoke was the main cause of the high and very high risk AQHI ratings in 2022 as it was in 2021.