For 1st time, poor air quality triggers Edmonton extreme weather response

Click to play video: 'Alberta wildfires: Smoke triggers air quality warnings across province'
Alberta wildfires: Smoke triggers air quality warnings across province
WATCH: With dozens of wildfires burning across Alberta, a shift in the wind has pushed forest fire smoke throughout the province. – May 16, 2023

On Wednesday night, the City of Edmonton activated its extreme weather response due to poor air quality caused by the wildfire smoke.

The response is activated when the city experiences three consecutive days of an Air Quality Health Index score of seven or higher.

This is the first time the extreme weather response has been activated due to poor air quality.

“During extreme weather, the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable Edmontonians is a priority for the city, partner agencies and other frontline service providers,” the city said in a news release Thursday.

Click to play video: 'Alberta wildfires prompt partial closure of Highway 43'
Alberta wildfires prompt partial closure of Highway 43

It means all city facilities are open to anyone needing a break from the smoke and that N95 masks will be given to social agency partners to provide to community members.

Story continues below advertisement

The city is also installing water bottle-filling stations to improve access to clean, safe drinking water to avoid dehydration. This is the third year in a row Edmonton has offered water stations. This year, the program has grown to 20 stations.

Seventeen stations will be operating by May 20, and the remaining three will be installed “on demand,” the city said.

The locations are:

  • Central McDougall and Queen Mary Park (109 Avenue and 107 Street)
  • Kinistinâw Park (102 Avenue and 96 Street)
  • Boyle Street Community Services (105 Avenue and 102 Street)
  • Bissell Centre (96 Street and 105 Avenue)
  • Sheriff Robertson Park (82 Street and 112 Avenue)
  • Stanley A. Milner Library (Downtown) (by front entrance, 7 Sir Winston Churchill Square)
  • Butler Park
  • Callingwood Park South
  • Unity Square (104 Avenue and 117 Street)
  • Parkdale Plaza (118 Avenue and 82 Street)
  • Clareview Transit Station
  • Mosaic Centre (65 Street and 132 Avenue)
  • Niginan Housing Ventures (12340 Fort Road)
  • Beverly Heights ( 118 Avenue between 34-35 Streets)
  • Southgate Transit Centre
  • McIntyre Park/Old Strathcona Farmers Market
  • Mill Woods Transit Station

The water stations, which are attached to fire hydrants, are located near public washrooms where possible.

City crews made several design improvements to the filling stations this year, including the addition of a stainless steel guard to each faucet.

In addition, Edmontonians can access water at the existing water bottle filling stations throughout LRT and transit centres.

Story continues below advertisement

The extreme weather response was lifted Friday at 8 a.m.

Click to play video: 'Alberta wildfires: Concerns about air quality, looting, well-being of troops'
Alberta wildfires: Concerns about air quality, looting, well-being of troops

If you see someone who needs emergency attention, call 911.

Edmontonians who are concerned about someone outside can help by calling 211 and press 3 for the 24/7 Crisis Diversion team. They can assist with individuals who may be in distress and can provide transportation to social service agencies.

Sponsored content