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Air quality poor in Edmonton as wildfires burn across Alberta

Edmonton's air quality worsened Wednesday morning when it sat at a 10+, according to Canada's Air Quality Health Index.

"Given the number of wildfires burning and the vast area they cover, it's no surprise that wildfire smoke has settled in many parts of the province," said Dr. Laura McDougall, Alberta Health Services senior medical officer of health.

Above 10 is the highest category on the AQHI and considered "very high risk."

Coughing, eye irritation, shortness of breath and tiredness are all possible side effects of the poor air quality, McDougall said, and people should reduce their time spent outside and reschedule outdoor activities wherever possible.

Children and seniors are especially vulnerable and should take extra precautions.

As of 3 p.m. the air quality had changed to a "high risk" 9. 


An online map shows parts of Alberta are covered in smoke on Wednesday as wildfires continue to burn in central and northern parts of the province.

After weeks of wildfires, wind blew smoke into Calgary and Edmonton on Tuesday.

Wildfire officials say the smoke made it cooler and reduced extreme wildfire conditions.

"Winds have weakened today across most of the province and temperatures are near normal for this time of year,"said Christie Tucker, Alberta Wildfire's information unit manager. "But things will start to change tomorrow.

"It will get hotter and drier as we head to the weekend, and as we've seen that can lead to more active wildfire behaviour." 


Alberta had 91 wildfires burning Wednesday afternoon, with 27 of them considered to be out of control.

Tucker said one firefighter had been seriously injured near East Prairie Métis Settlement, but she did not offer details on that injury or the condition of the firefighter.

A total of 19 evacuation orders were in place, and an estimated 11,990 Albertans had been evacuated.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for several communities, including Drayton Valley and the County of Grande Prairie, but officials said residents should stay vigilant.

"We all need to remember that this situation is volatile, for those returning residents, please remember that we still have active wildfires on the landscape," Tucker said. "If you see firefighters in your area, give them the space to work and keep a safe distance."

Since the start of the 2023 wildfire season, around 38,000 Albertans have been forced to leave their homes due to wildfires. Top Stories

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