SMOKE RISK RISES IN CALGARY, COLD FRONT TO BRING RELIEF
Relief is near after Environment Canada issued another severe air quality warning Thursday for Calgary and other communities in southern Alberta, just days after a record for the number of smoky days in the city was smashed.
As of Thursday evening, Environment Canada rated Calgary’s air quality at 10, considered high risk, with the expectation for it to peak at a 10+ rating sometime Thursday night. The rating was expected to reach 4 by Friday afternoon, with improved air quality in the forecast.
According to the air-quality monitoring smartphone application Sh**t! I Smoke, those who breathed the Calgary air Thursday inhaled roughly the equivalent of smoking seven and a half cigarettes.
Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Carlsen said Calgary’s poor air quality Thursday was once again due to smoke from more than 550 raging wildfires in B.C., which reduced visibility and left a lingering campfire smell across the city.
“The smoke plumes coming out of B.C. are really large, really dense smoke,” Carlsen said Thursday.
He said relief is on the way as a cold front with rain from the north is forecast to move into southern Alberta on Friday.
Carlsen, who is from B.C., says he has been tracking wildfires for years and is shocked by the level of smoke.
“This has been the smokiest summer in Calgary’s history … so that would speak to the fact that there’s been a lot more (fires) this year than have been observed since observation began.”
Dan Kulak, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the air quality index is based on readings of nitrogen, ozone and particles of forest fire material in the air.
Environment Canada gauges the index by measuring the number of particles which are 2.5 microns (1/1,000 of a millimetre) in diameter or less, Kulak said.
He said the high levels of microscopic burned material in the air caused the index to jump and posed the biggest health concern to Calgarians on Thursday.
B.C. declared a state of emergency last week and Premier John Horgan met with fire crews in Prince George Tuesday, but thick plumes of smoke prevented his aircraft from landing in Burns Lake.
Officials have said roughly 3,000 B.C. residents are under evacuation orders and thousands more are on alert as crews work to manage hundreds of intense fires across the province.
Visit www.weather.gc.ca to stay up to date with all of Environment Canada’s weather and air quality advisories.
Calgarians on Thursday inhaled roughly the equivalent of seven and half cigarettes, according to an air-quality monitoring smartphone app.
Andrea, Ken, Chuck and Michael ride along Crescent Hill. The city’s air quality was considered high risk on Thursday.
Megan Turner and Richard Martin at Scotsman’s Hill. Smoke has left a lingering campfire smell across the city.
The Bow River was looking a little more smoky this week.