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Quebec wildfires: How 150 raging blazes are leading to smog warnings for province

Click to play video: 'Quebec wildfires prompt over 10,000 people to evacuate'
Quebec wildfires prompt over 10,000 people to evacuate
Forest fires in Quebec have prompted thousands to evacuate over the weekend as the Canadian Armed Forces geared up to help fight the threat. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, the situation in the region of Abitibi is critical – Jun 4, 2023

Quebec is dealing with more than 150 wildfires — and now people across the province will see hazy, smoky conditions throughout the day Monday.

Environment Canada issued widespread smog warnings in the morning, saying “atmospheric conditions could result in a deterioration in air quality.”

“High concentrations of fine particulate matter from forest fires in Quebec will result in poor air quality in many areas today,” the public weather agency said Monday.

The warning is in effect for a large swath of Quebec, including the greater Montreal area where air quality could deteriorate, starting in the afternoon. Other impacted regions include Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Gatineau, Lanaudière, and the Laurentians.

“These high concentrations of pollutants are expected to last into Tuesday,” the warning said.

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Environment Canada said smog especially affects children and people who suffer from respiratory illnesses or heart disease. They should avoid intense physical activity outside until the warning is lifted.

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Montreal’s public health department says exposure to smoke includes symptoms such as itchy eyes, sore throat, headache and a mild cough. It recommends staying indoors, closing the windows, turning off the air exchanger and avoiding outside physical activity during periods of smog.

Anyone who is concerned about their health can contact the 811 health hotline and 911 for medical emergencies, the organization said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

The warnings come as raging forest fires burn on in northwestern Quebec, where thousands were forced to leave their homes last weekend. The Canadian military and firefighters both poured into parts of the province to help fight the encroaching flames as the number of blazes topped 150.

A ban was also issued on entering the forests of several vast regions, including Northern Quebec, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, and parts of the North Coast, Outaouais, Mauricie, Lanaudière, and the Laurentians.

with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Global News Morning weather forecast: June 5, 2023'
Global News Morning weather forecast: June 5, 2023

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