The thick haze of smoke that covered Moose Jaw on Wednesday will be sticking around for at least another day or so.
Forest fires in northern Saskatchewan and Alberta and changing weather conditions brought the smoke into southern Saskatchewan.
“We are expecting that smoke to hang around for most of today,” says Meteorologist Terri Lang. “It looks like there should be some improvement tomorrow, as the winds switch around to a more southeasterly direction. I still think there still is some that will be hanging around and the sun will remain to be orange because there is so much smoke around.”
As of Wednesday morning, there are 27 active fires burning across the province according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.
Eight are listed as contained (the fire is not expected to grow), 13 have an ongoing assessment (the fire is being monitored), one is protecting property (fire is ongoing and action is focused on protecting property), and five are not contained (the fire is expected to grow in size).
The Special Air Quality Statement that was issued by Environment Canada for Moose Jaw on Tuesday afternoon is expected to continue throughout the day on Wednesday.
“When the Air Quality Health Index reaches the moderate category or higher, we will issue a Special Air Quality Statement that does highlight the risks associated with the poorer air quality.”
Currently, the Air Quality Health Index in the area is at 10+, which is labeled as “Very High Risk”.
Residents should be aware of the health risks that are associated with the amount of smoke that is being seen.
“People should determine their own risk. Those that have compromised breathing really have to take care during this because conditions are so poor. Because the fires are still going all across Western Canada, we may be having the smoke around for a while,” adds Lang.
It is also recommended that people should limit their exposure to the elements and drink lots of water. If you do decide to go outside, it is advised to wear a well-fitted respirator-type mask that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, which can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke.
Lang did want to remind residents that though there are no forest fires ongoing in the region, grassland fires still could ignite.
“Be careful with those ignition sources and be careful with that smoke coming down because there is a health risk.”
If you come across a grass fire call 9-1-1 for assistance.
Click HERE to keep track of Environment Canada’s smoke dispersion radar.