Calgary weather

August 26, 2015 7:06 am
Updated: August 26, 2015 1:01 pm

Third day of poor air quality in Calgary, causing health concerns

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WATCH ABOVE: A thick haze continued to hang over Calgary on Wednesday, thanks to wildfires south of the border. Stefan Keyes reports. 

CALGARY – Air quality in Calgary continued to be a concern on Wednesday as smoke from western wildfires drifted into southern Alberta.

As of 12 p.m., air quality in Calgary was listed at 5 on the Government of Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and considered to be a moderate health risk. Smoke is expected to make a late summer return to parts of Saskatchewan Tuesday.

Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services Dr. Jason Cabaj suggests all Calgarians limit their time outdoors.

“Normally with air quality, we’re especially concerned about people with chronic concerns and other vulnerable people such as young children and older adults… but in this case, the air is poor enough that everybody needs to pay attention to it.”

WATCH: Dr. Jason Cabaj joins Global Calgary with details on how to cope with deteriorating air quality in Calgary

To reduce exposure to the current poor air conditions, AHS suggests the following:

  • Reduce presence of smoke in indoor environments:
    • Close and lock all outside windows and doors, including attached garage doors.
    • Turn down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum setting. Do not attempt to extinguish pilot light.
    • If you have an air conditioner, keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
    • Avoid running fans, such as “whole-house fans” or “fresh air ventilation systems” that bring more smoky outdoor air inside.
    • Switch all floor registers to closed position.
    • Close fire place dampers on wood burning fireplaces.
    • Do not use wood burning fireplaces, wood stoves or other smoke-producing appliances or features, including candles.
  • If you must drive to another location, keep windows and vents closed. Run car fans on re-circulate mode to avoid drawing in outdoor air.
  • Reduce levels of physical activity, as necessary, to decrease the inhalation of airborne pollutants.
  • Do not smoke tobacco – smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you.

The poor air quality can also take a toll on animals.

Phil Fulton with the Calgary Humane Society advises pet owners to use caution when it comes to their furry friends.

“Everything that you’re seeing that Alberta Health Services is putting out about how to take care of ourselves… do the same thing for your animals,”

“If you have a dog or a cat that has any kind of respiratory issues – don’t go outside.”

Meanwhile, Calgary remains under a fire ban.

The Calgary Fire Department issued the fire ban on Tuesday afternoon to minimize the amount of smoke adding to the poor air quality.

The ban prohibits the use of fire pits, recreational campfires, chimeneas and wood-burning devices and will be in place until further notice.

To learn more about fire bans in Calgary visit calgary.ca/firebans, and to learn more about how to reduce your exposure to the current air conditions visit Alberta Health Services.

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