Air quality statement in effect as wildfire haze returns to Ottawa

OTTAWA — A special air quality statement from Environment Canada is in effect, as another blanket of haze caused by wildfire smoke covers the capital.

“Smoke plumes from active fires in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba have spread into the area. Poor air quality and reduced visibilities are possible if the smoke descends to ground level,” Environment Canada said in an alert Wednesday morning.

“Southerly winds are expected to push the smoke northward out of the area late today.”

The alert is also in effect for the Upper Ottawa Valley and the Prescott and Russell area. Gatineau is under a smog warning.

Sunny, humid conditions in the capital

Ottawa’s weather forecast for Wednesday is clear and sunny, minus the haze, with a high of 28 C and a humidex of 33 expected. The UV index is 7, or high.

Just a few clouds are expected overnight, with a low of 14 C.

More sunshine is in Thursday’s forecast, but humid conditions persist. The high is 29 C with a humidex of 34.

Friday’s outlook is mainly sunny with a high of 30 C.

There’s a chance of showers in the forecast for the weekend.

Dealing with the haze

Environment Canada suggests people at risk should take extra precautions in light of the current conditions.

“Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which include many chemicals that can be harmful to your health.”

It is recommended individuals with chronic lung conditions or who are otherwise sensitive to the smoke limit their time outdoors and avoid strenuous activity outside until the haze has lifted.

Environment Canada says the air quality index is at a 5 on a scale of 1 to 11, which is a moderate risk level.

“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,” Environment Canada says.

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