September 10, 2017 5:31 pm
Updated: September 10, 2017 7:41 pm

Environment Canada issues air quality statement for parts of southern Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: A wildfire that has already forced the evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park is growing in size and moved closer to the Waterton town site on Sunday. Katelyn Wilson has the latest.

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Smoke from the growing Kenow Mountain wildfire that continues to move closer to Waterton, Alta. has prompted Environment Canada to issue a new air quality statement for parts of southern Alberta on Sunday afternoon.

As of 4 p.m., the statement was in effect for several areas in and around Waterton and Pincher Creek and Environment Canada said “elevated pollution levels are expected or occurring.”

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“The wildfires burning in Waterton Lakes National Park continue to produce widespread smoke and poor air quality over southwestern areas, especially near the park boundaries,” the weather agency said on its website. “Over the next few days, a persistent weather pattern will result in very little improvement in conditions.

“The poor air quality may even spread into adjacent regions by mid week.”

On Sunday, Alberta Health Services said it was asking people to “refrain from visiting at Cardston and Pincher Creek Health Centres until further notice.

“Air quality has improved slightly, but smoke is still entering the buildings when doors are opened,” AHS said. “We sincerely thank everyone for their patience, understanding and co-operation during this time. We understand these restrictions may pose an inconvenience.”

READ MORE: Wildfire moves closer to Waterton, grows to 9,400 hectares

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the wildfire threat in the Waterton Lakes area.

On Friday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for the Waterton Lakes area because of the Kenow Mountain wildfire.

READ MORE: Waterton park and townsite under mandatory evacuation due to wildfire

Environment Canada warned people in affected areas could have symptoms like coughing more, irritated throats and headaches or shortness of breath.

“Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

The agency also warned people with lung diseases could be impacted more than others.

People were advised to keep their windows and doors closed in their homes.

If your home isn’t air-conditioned and you need to cool down, Environment Canada suggested going to a public place like a library, shopping centre or recreation centre that is air-conditioned.

For more information on air quality in Alberta, click here.

For a complete list of areas in Alberta that are under a weather watch, warning or advisory, click here.

On Saturday, Environment Canada issued an air quality advisory for much of southern Alberta – including the city of Calgary – as wildfires continue to make their presence felt across much of the province. Several areas in western Alberta were also issued an air quality advisory.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires map 2017: Current location of wildfires around the province

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