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2018 the smokiest summer on record in Calgary: Environment Canada

Click to play video: 'Calgary breaks smoke record' Calgary breaks smoke record
Global News Morning Calgary's Bindu Suri talks about Calgary breaking a smoky record – Aug 21, 2018

The city of Calgary has been covered in smoke this summer, prompting a number of Special Air Quality Statements from Environment Canada.

People have been posting all kinds of photographic evidence online and commenting that this is the smokiest summer they can remember.

That observation has now been validated, after Calgary broke a smoke record at 12 p.m. Monday, according to data from Environment Canada.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Calgary has recorded 321 hours of smoke this summer, breaking the old record of 315 hours set in 2017.

Environment Canada considers smoke hours to be caused by forest fires so their observational data covers the timeline of May to September.

READ MORE: ‘Lovely morning in the apocalypse’: Edmonton wakes up to orange, smoky sky

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With that framework in mind, a number of Alberta cities have set new records for the smokiest summer, including Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Grande Prairie. With the exception of Grande Prairie, all of the old records were set in 2017 (Grande Prairie’s old record of 134 hours was set in 1994).

Smoke records from Environment Canada Aug. 20, 2018. Environment Canada

Calgary’s third smokiest summer was in 2015, when 155 smoke hours were recorded.

The smoke in Alberta over the past two years far exceeds what is considered normal for smoke hours. Thirty-year averages show Calgary can expect around 12 smoke hours per summer. This year, Calgary has had over 26 times what is considered average.

According to Alysa Pederson, decision support meteorologist at Environment Canada,

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Pederson warns there are likely going to be more smoky days this summer, starting as soon as Wednesday for some parts of central and southern Alberta.

READ MORE: Safe bet Alberta will be impacted by B.C. wildfire smoke in future: scientist

As of early Monday morning, Calgary had over 125 consecutive hours of smoke, starting Aug. 15. There has been smoke recorded every day for at least part of the day since Aug. 7. The last full clear day was two weeks ago on Aug. 6.

The majority of the smoke the summer has come from forest fires in British Columbia, however some smoke has also trickled up from fires as far away as California.

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