Wildfire smoke from western U.S. settles over Alberta

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Smoke from fires burning in Washington, Oregon and California has made its way into Alberta. Global News meteorologist Tiffany Lizée has the details – Sep 14, 2020

Smoke from fires burning in Washington, Oregon and California has made its way into Alberta.

Sunshine was covered with a white haze on Sunday as smoke sat high in the atmosphere for parts of the province on Saturday.

On Sunday, smoke pushed down to surface level, affecting air quality across west-central and southwestern Alberta.

Read more: Okanagan socked in by U.S. wildfire smoke, conditions could improve by Tuesday

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Last week, dense smoke pooled along the West Coast. Then as the weekend neared, a shift in winds caused it to waft inland across the U.S. and into Canada.

A visible satellite image from NASA shows how far eastward the jet streams have carried smoke particles. The wisps of smooth grey smoke can be seen stretching all the way to the East Coast.

SkyTracker. SkyTracker

On Saturday, Environment Canada issued an air quality statement for the southwestern corner of Alberta.

On Sunday morning, the weather agency extended the statement to include Canmore, Kananaskis and Banff National Park.

Read more: U.S. wildfire smoke: Environment Canada issues air quality statements for nearly all of B.C.

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SkyTracker. SkyTracker
“The anticipated smoke trajectory indicates that the areas impacted will grow to the north and east [Sunday] and this alert will likely be expanded,” said Environment Canada.

High concentrations of smoke particles have pushed the air quality health index (AQHI) from a low health risk to a moderate health risk, and conditions are expected to worsen Sunday night and into Monday.

Read more: Crews search for survivors as wildfires in western U.S. burn millions of acres

Read more: U.S. wildfires help make Vancouver air quality among worst in the world

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Exposure to air pollution can be most worrisome for people with pre-existing health conditions, people with respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women, infants and children.

Conditions are forecast to improve Monday evening as the smoke is pushed back southward.

For more information about wildfire smoke exposure and air quality, click here.

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