Special air quality statement in effect for Brandon and area

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Source:  Government of Canada

1:09 PM CDT Thursday 09 August 2018
Special air quality statement in effect for:

  • City of Brandon
  • Mun. of Glenboro-South Cypress incl. Treesbank
  • Mun. of Norfolk Treherne
  • Mun. of North Cypress-Langford incl. Neepawa and Carberry
  • Mun. of North Norfolk incl. MacGregor Sidney and Austin
  • Mun. of Oakland-Wawanesa incl. Carroll
  • R.M. of Cornwallis west of Shilo incl. Chater
  • R.M. of Elton incl. Forrest
  • R.M. of Victoria incl. Holland and Cypress River

A northwesterly flow aloft is transporting smoke from forest fires in Alberta and BC into Manitoba. This smoke is causing locally poor air quality and reduced visibilities at times.

While periods of improvement are likely, the weather pattern will remain in place for the next couple days. Smoke and reduced air quality will continue to impact portions of the province into the weekend.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

If your home is not air-conditioned, be sure the house doesn’t get too warm when doors and windows are closed to keep out smoke. Exposure to too much heat can also result in illness.

In general, wearing a mask is not the best way to protect your health during a smoke event. In fact, masks may lead to a false sense of security, which may encourage increased physical activity and time spent outdoors, meaning increased exposure to smoke. They can also make breathing more difficult.

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

Due to the smoky conditions, individuals living in or travelling to the above noted areas are advised to be aware of potential health concerns that can be associated with current air conditions. In these current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.

In areas affected by smoke from wildland fires, Manitobans are encouraged to:
– limit outdoor activity and/or strenuous physical activity; if breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity
– reduce exposure to smoke by staying indoors or moving to areas with cleaner air, as conditions can vary dramatically by area
– turn off furnaces and air-conditioning units that may draw smoke indoors
– keep indoor air cleaner by avoiding smoking or burning other materials

People at higher risk include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with heart or lung conditions (particularly asthma), and therefore should avoid as much exposure to smoke as possible.

Manitobans with health questions or concerns can contact their health-care provider or call Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. More information on the health effects of smoke is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/smoke.html

Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.

Issued by Environment Canada and Manitoba Health