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Air quality advisory lifted for Fort McMurray following wildfire

Smoke fills the sky from wildfires over Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 13, 2016.
Smoke fills the sky from wildfires over Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 13, 2016. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

The air quality advisory that was put in place for the Fort McMurray area on May 2 has been lifted by Alberta Health Services.

AHS said Tuesday air monitoring has shown the community is no longer being significantly impacted by smoke from the wildfires.

With the advisory being lifted, AHS said it is now safe for children under the age of seven to return to Fort McMurray. Others previously recommended not to return – including those with a chronic or acute medical condition such as heart, lung, gastrointestinal or kidney disease – can now safely return to the community.

READ MORE: ‘Extreme’ air quality conditions in Fort McMurray could delay re-entry plans

Because wildfires continue to burn in parts of northern Alberta, air quality can change with wind and weather conditions. AHS said it is keeping a precautionary air quality advisory, issued on May 5, in place for the health authority’s North Zone.

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AHS still recommends some people delay returning to Fort McMurray until after June 20 if they require dialysis, are receiving cancer treatments, are more than 36 weeks pregnant or are having complications with pregnancy.

READ MORE: ‘It’s eerie’: Thousands of residents return home after Fort McMurray wildfire

On Monday, health officials said more core services are up and running at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, Fort McMurray’s hospital. Pediatric services are now available, along with medical and surgical inpatient, ICU, OR, obstetrical and inpatient psychiatric services.

AHS said the hospital will provide full comprehensive healthcare services on June 21.

READ MORE: Northern Lights centre begins offering core health services in Fort McMurray

Also Monday, the province announced the Fort McMurray wildfire is being held for the first time since it become out of control in early May.

Thousands of residents have been returning to Fort McMurray this month after being forced to flee.