Air quality has been a concern in Alberta this week as several wildfires burn in the northern parts of the province.
On Saturday, special air quality statements remained in place for much of Alberta, including Edmonton, Red Deer and most of northern Alberta. However, the air quality statement for the Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky Mountain House areas had been lifted.
The thickest smoke on Saturday morning extended from northeastern British Columbia through eastern portions of Whitecourt, Drayton Valley, Red Deer and much of southern Alberta. The foothills were expected to see improvement throughout the day Saturday, with the rest of southern Alberta improving later in the afternoon and evening.
Air quality was more of a concern in eastern portions of Alberta, with conditions expected to worsen Saturday afternoon and into the evening hours.
Northern Alberta was expected to remain enveloped by wildfire smoke through the weekend, according to Environment Canada.
WATCH: There are currently 24 active wildfires burning in the province; eight of them are out of control. As Mike Le Couteur reports, it may be a while yet before the fire emergency eases.
Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index is measured on a scale ranging from 1 to 10+. Anything from 1-3 is considered a low risk, 4-6 is a moderate risk, 7-10 is a high risk and 10+ is very high risk.
Edmonton air quality
Edmonton’s air quality health index sat at a 6 late Saturday morning, a moderate risk. Conditions were expected to get worse throughout the day and reach a 10+ on the scale — a very high risk.
The air quality is expected to remain poor through the night Saturday.
FC Edmonton postponed its Saturday afternoon game against Winnipeg’s Valour FC due to poor air quality. In a statement, the Canadian Premier League said the game will be played at 10:30 a.m. Sunday instead.
“Our players, organization, fans and supporters’ safety and health is the Canadian Premier League’s top priority and we don’t want to encourage people to leave their homes when it is dangerous to their health,” the league said.
Tickets for Saturday’s match will be valid at Sunday’s game.
During special air quality statements, people may find themselves coughing more or experience throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.
Children, seniors and people with cardiovascular or lung disease such as asthma and COPD are especially at risk.
People experiencing difficulty breathing should stay inside where it’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner may help. For more information, visit the Alberta Health Services website.