AHS has issued an air quality advisory for central Alberta due to the wildfires in BC. This photo was taken in Cache Creek. Black Press Digital photo

UPDATE: AHS issues air quality advisory due to BC wildfires

Due to wildfires burning in BC, air quality is affected in central Alberta

Alberta Health Services has issued an air quality concern due to B.C. wildfires.

The updated announcement came July 17 with AHS stating Alberta residents can expect to see varied levels of air quality. This could last for the next few weeks.

“Residents of, and visitors to, the Central Zone of AHS, are advised to be aware of air conditions and take precautions against potential health concerns that can be associated with smoky air conditions,” states a precautionary advisory from July 10.

AHS adds that minor smoke conditions do not typically cause health concerns in healthy individuals, however, there is a chance of irritation of the eyes and throat, plus shortness of breath, if conditions become more severe.

AHS advises these steps:

If you can taste and/or smell smoke in the air:

• Monitor your symptoms.

• Minimize physical activity outdoors.

• Remain indoors with windows, doors and air circulation fans/vents closed.

• If you drive to another location, keep windows and vents closed. Run your car fan on re-circulate mode to avoid drawing in outdoor air.

“Individuals with respiratory conditions (such as COPD and asthma), and individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions (such as angina, previous heart attack and congestive heart failure), may notice a worsening of symptoms in smoky air conditions. These individuals should monitor for worsening of symptoms and take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians if a worsening of symptoms occurs.”

People can also call Health Link 24 hours a day toll free at 811.

“Air quality can and will vary with weather conditions and prevailing winds. Because air quality is expected to be variable, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.”

Ways to help, monitor and donate

Information about the air quality in many areas of Alberta is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website: airquality.alberta.ca. For hourly air-quality readings and daily forecasts, download the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Canada app.

For more information on the air-quality advisory, please visit albertahealthservices.ca/news/air.aspx

The Alberta government is also advising people to make financial donations to a recognized non-profit organization of their choice instead of providing material donations.

How Albertans can help

Albertans can help the people affected by the fires in B.C. with a financial donation to the British Columbia Fires Appeal.

The Red Cross gratefully accepts donations from generous Canadians wishing to help. People can donate to the British Columbia Fires Appeal in one of the following ways:

• online at www.redcross.ca

• by calling 1-800-418-1111

• by texting FIRES or FEUX to 45678

• by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office

Information about the air quality in many areas of Alberta is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website: http://airquality.alberta.ca. Air quality information is also available by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-247-7333.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 4 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.