This year has been a significant year in terms of wildfire season in Canada and probably the worst on record.
A meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada said with the wildfire smoke, Saskatoon set a new record.
“Saskatoon actually set a new record this year for most hours of smoke reported at the Saskatoon International Airport,” said Sara Hoffman.
“We have visibility observations that date back to 1953 and this year 2023, with 171 hours of smoke, is the most in a year that we have on record.”
As for Regina, Hoffman said the Queen City has seen quite a pronounced number of hours of smoke as well.
“This summer of 2023, (Regina) is sitting at right around 123 hours of smoke,” she said. “That is not a record. 2021 holds the record in Regina. That was with 184 hours of smoke … records go back to 1953.”
Wildfire season is not over just yet, Hoffman expects that Saskatchewanians will see more wildfire smoke as the summer season continues.
“Wildfire season typically extends into September anyway, and I would expect it to persist,” she said.
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“Even though we’ve already set the record in Saskatoon, I do expect more hours of smoke to be measured this year. And I would expect wildfires to continue into the fall, potentially into October.”
For those with lung-related issues, a registered nurse and respiratory educator at Lung Saskatchewan said those who are going to be around something that’s a trigger for a lung disease, or something that can irritate your eyes and airways, should try to stay away from it.
“That’s tough to do in Saskatchewan … since we only have such a short summer, we want to be outside. But if it’s really, really bothersome for you, you want to stay inside. You want to keep your windows and your doors closed,” said Jaimie Peters.
“If you have air conditioning that can go on recycled air mode, you’ll want to turn that on to keep smoky air from coming into your home.”
Peters said people need to make sure to check the air quality in their areas. For any concerns, residents can check out the Lung Saskatchewan website for recommendations and the impacts that wildfires have on lung health.