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Smoky skies prompt air quality statements for Banff, Canmore, neighbouring communities

Environment Canada issued special air quality statements for local communities Sunday afternoon (Sept. 11).

BOW VALLEY – Due to wildfire smoke flooding into western Alberta, special air quality statements are in effect for Banff National Park, Canmore, MD of Bighorn, Stoney Nakoda and Kananaskis Country on Sunday (Sept. 11).

In a statement, Environment Canada said “wildfire smoke from British Columbia is moving into western portions of Alberta, causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.”

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath,” the statement said.

“Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

The Air Quality Health Index for Calgary and area is currently at 3, low risk, and is expected to bump up to 4, moderate risk, on Sunday evening and Monday before returning to 3 on Tuesday.

According to BC Wildfire Dashboard, there are currently 190 active fires in the province, 66 being in the south east district, which is nearest to the Bow Valley.

Alberta is reporting 50 active wildfires, including the Chetamon wildfire in Jasper National Park, which is expected to continue effecting areas north of the Jasper townsite and Highway 16, as crews work to extinguish it.

For health information related to air quality, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca.