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RESCINDED: Air Quality Advisory issued for Bonnyville, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, Smoky Lake and Elk Point

May 19, 2016

This advisory is no longer active, see: Air Quality Advisory lifted for Bonnyville, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, Smoky Lake and Elk Point

NORTH ZONE – Due to worsening smoke conditions caused by the wildfires burning in the Fort McMurray-area, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is issuing an air quality advisory for Bonnyville, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche Smoky Lake, Elk Point and the surrounding areas in those communities, effective immediately.

Individuals living in or travelling to/through the above noted areas are advised to be aware of health concerns that can be associated with current air conditions. In the current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.

To reduce exposure to the current air conditions, all individuals can:

  • Reduce presence of smoke in indoor environments:
    • Close and lock all outside windows and doors, including attached garage doors
    • Turn down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum setting.  Do not attempt to extinguish pilot light.
    • If you have an air-conditioner, keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
    • Avoid running fans, such as “whole-house fans” or “fresh air ventilation systems”, that bring more smoky outdoor air inside.
    • Switch all floor registers to closed position
    • Close fire place dampers on wood burning fireplaces.
    • Do not use wood burning fireplace, wood stoves or other smoke-producing appliances or features, including candles.
  • If you must drive through this area, or to another location within this area, keep car windows and vents closed. Run your car fans on re-circulate mode to avoid drawing in outdoor air.
  • Reduce levels of physical activity, as necessary, to decrease the inhalation of airborne pollutants.
  • Do not smoke tobacco – smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you.

Individuals with respiratory conditions (such as COPD and asthma), and individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions (such as angina, previous heart attack and congestive heart failure), may notice a worsening of symptoms, due to the current air conditions. These individuals should monitor for worsening of symptoms and take the precautions routinely recommended by their physicians if a worsening of symptoms occurs. Children under the age of seven and seniors are also at higher risk of smoke-related illness.

Individuals experiencing symptoms can also call Health Link at 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

Air quality can vary with weather conditions and prevailing winds. Because air quality is expected to be variable, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Information about the air quality in many areas of Alberta is updated regularly on the Alberta Environment and Parks Website at: www.airquality.alberta.ca.  Air quality information is also available by phone, toll-free, at 1-877-247-7333.

For more information on the ongoing Fort McMurray-area wildfires, visit www.ahs.ca/wildfire.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 4 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kirsten Goruk
AHS Communications
780-830-3537