IN PICTURES: Smoke smothers Calgary, air quality jumps off the charts

Photo taken by Barb De Vos in Calgary, Alta. on May 31, 2019 . Barb De Vos/submitted

Thick smoke settled into southern Alberta Thursday, and continued to stifle air quality on Friday.

Thursday evening, the air quality health index in Calgary jumped from a 4 to 10 in a matter of three hours.

Environment Canada’s air quality health index scale, with 1 being a “low” health risk up to 10+ which is a “very high” health risk. Cody Coates/Global News

By Friday morning at 11 a.m., the AQHI had launched off the charts and to a score of 18.

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According to Environment Canada’s Health Index, physical exertion and strenuous activities outdoors should be limited or avoided, especially for children, elderly and anyone with respiratory illnesses while the numbers are so high.


Alberta Environment and Parks and Airshed provides raw AQHI data from monitoring stations aross the province. Cody Coates/Global News

Large sections of northern Alberta are being consumed by wildfires and almost every day has brought new advisories and orders.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

The fires are burning in multiple areas hundreds of kilometres apart, triggering evacuations of several communities in northwestern and north-central Alberta.

Here is a summary of the existing alerts and orders across Alberta.

Traffic issues such a road closures are posted to the Alberta 511 government website.

The smoke travelled farther south, prompting Environment Canada to expand special air quality statements to include the entire southern portion of Alberta.

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Weather alerts issued from Environment Canada at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 31, 2019. SkyTracker Weather

Winds will continue blowing from the south over the weekend, which should help improve conditions in southern Alberta.

To stay updated with weather alerts in your area, download the Global News Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

IN PICTURES: Smoke as seen from viewers around southern Alberta

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Refer to the Government of Alberta Air Quality Health Index website for the most current AQHI rating in your area.

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