Air quality is Calgary is apparently at the worst that it can really be.
The city fell under the near-province-wide air quality alert from Environment Canada on Thursday thanks to the multiple out-of-control wildfires burning through the province, and that alert was renewed on Friday morning alongside an alarming air quality health index rating.
According to Environment Canada, the air in Calgary is currently sitting at a 10+ out of 10, meaning that it is at “very high risk” levels.
This, naturally, comes as no surprise to anyone within the city, as the smokey haze that has settled onto YYC is making breathing — or seeing very far in any direction — difficult.
There is the smallest hint of good news in all this bad, however, as Environment Canada also forecasts that the air quality health index rating will drop down to a five by Friday night (moderate risk) and a four by Saturday morning (moderate risk).
Environment Canada offers the following advice for anyone experience symptoms caused by the smokey haze:
Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.
The wildfires up north have grown significantly over the past 24 hours, with the largest, the Chuckegg Creek Wildfire, now clocking in at 230,000 hectares.
Hot and dry conditions forecast for the foreseeable future will only worsen the situation, though there are over 2,300 wildland firefighters — from both Alberta and the rest of Canada — currently battling the blazes.
The majority of wildfires that occur in this province are human-caused — whether by a campfire that got out of hand or simply a cigarette butt tossed out the window on a warm summer day.
Albertans are being asked to refrain from these seriously dangerous actions, and fire bans have been put into place in the hopes that the number of wildfires this year will be limited.