Smoke from fires burning in Washington, Oregon and California has made its way into Alberta.
Sunshine was covered with a white haze on Sunday as smoke sat high in the atmosphere for parts of the province on Saturday.
On Sunday, smoke pushed down to surface level, affecting air quality across west-central and southwestern Alberta.
holy smokes! we are covered in smoke today🔥 hope everyone effected by these vicious wildfires is safe or has found a safe place to go. #canmore #banff #wildfires2020 @weathernetwork pic.twitter.com/zyaGtkawx8
— Mariam Bocari (@MariamBocari) September 13, 2020
Last week, dense smoke pooled along the West Coast. Then as the weekend neared, a shift in winds caused it to waft inland across the U.S. and into Canada.
A visible satellite image from NASA shows how far eastward the jet streams have carried smoke particles. The wisps of smooth grey smoke can be seen stretching all the way to the East Coast.
On Saturday, Environment Canada issued an air quality statement for the southwestern corner of Alberta.
On Sunday morning, the weather agency extended the statement to include Canmore, Kananaskis and Banff National Park.
“The anticipated smoke trajectory indicates that the areas impacted will grow to the north and east and this alert will likely be expanded,” said Environment Canada.
High concentrations of smoke particles have pushed the air quality health index (AQHI) from a low health risk to a moderate health risk, and conditions are expected to worsen Sunday night and into Monday.
Exposure to air pollution can be most worrisome for people with pre-existing health conditions, people with respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women, infants and children.
Conditions are forecast to improve Monday evening as the smoke is pushed back southward.
For more information about wildfire smoke exposure and air quality, click here.
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