After a local state of emergency was declared due to a wildfire burning in northern Alberta, Alberta Health Services has issued an air quality warning for residents in the area.

Mackenzie County officials have declared a local state of emergency – as a wildfire continues to burn out of control about 15 kilometres southeast of La Crete.

Officials said the fire is about 425 hectares in size – more than 4 square kilometres.

On Saturday, Alberta Health Services advised residents in the area to take precautions – as the fires are causing air quality to deteriorate.

The warning was issued especially for those with chronic respiratory and cardiac conditions, such as COPD, asthma, congestive heart failure and angina – who can be more sensitive to the effects of the fine particulate matter in smoke.

AHS officials said the smoke can be absorbed into the lungs, and can cause or exacerbate health problems.

“People with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or angina should continue to monitor their symptoms and take any preventative measures their physicians have previously recommended,” AHS Medical Officer of Health for the North Zone, Dr. Albert De Villiers said in a press release. “Those individuals who experience difficulty breathing, or chest discomfort should consult their physicians.”

Individuals with respiratory conditions are advised to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and limit physical activity.

Any residents of the La Crete area with respiratory concerns can call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465), or visit the Advanced Ambulatory Care Centre, located at the La Crete Community Health Centre.

More information on the Advanced Ambulatory Care Centre can be found online.