Gateway Gazette

Update 2: Air Quality a Concern Due to B.C. Wildfires

The Government of Alberta is cautioning people that air quality across the province could be affected by the wildfires in British Columbia this week.

Alberta Health Services has issued advisories for all zones saying that air quality is expected to vary for the coming days and, potentially, weeks.

The province is encouraging residents of, and visitors to, Alberta to be aware of air conditions and to take precautions against potential health concerns that can be associated with smoky air.

Information about the air quality in many areas of Alberta is updated hourly on the Alberta Environment Air Quality Website: airquality.alberta.ca. For hourly air-quality readings and daily forecasts, download the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Canada app at open.alberta.ca/interact/aqhi-canada

For more information on the air-quality advisory, please visit albertahealthservices.ca/news/air.aspx

The Alberta government is also advising people to make financial donations to a recognized non-profit organization of their choice instead of providing material donations.

How Albertans can help

  • Albertans can help the people affected by the fires in B.C. with a financial donation to the British Columbia Fires Appeal.
  • The Red Cross gratefully accepts donations from generous Canadians wishing to help. People can donate to the British Columbia Fires Appeal in one of the following ways:

o online at www.redcross.ca

o by calling 1-800-418-1111

o by texting FIRES or FEUX to 45678

o by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office

Travel information

  • At this time, all highways into B.C. from Alberta are open to travel, but this could change as the wildfire situation progresses.
  • For up-to-date travel information, please check 511 Alberta and “know before you go.”
  • Albertans planning to travel to B.C. are advised to monitor @DriveBC and @EmergencyInfoBC for up-to-date information on road closures and traffic impacts.
  • Information for travellers and tourists visiting B.C. is available at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/info-for-travelers-tourists-in-bc

Contacting family in B.C.

  • If you have been separated from your family in B.C., please contact the Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 (select language and then option 1).

Alberta assistance

  • Agriculture and Forestry has deployed 142 firefighters and support staff, fire air tankers, two birddog planes, 3,000 lengths of hose and 100 MK III pumps with kits to B.C.
  • Alberta is responding to a request for help from British Columbia RCMP by sending 40 Alberta members from the Special Tactical Operations unit. More information: www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=48259FD713886-DFA4-7661-C7CC0C0E7DEF7DEF
  • The Alberta Emergency Management Agency has elevated the Provincial Operations Centre to Level 2 to enhance monitoring of the B.C. wildfire and, at the request of Emergency Management British Columbia, has deployed four emergency management and communications professionals to provide assistance.
  • Albertans are encouraged not to travel to B.C. on their own to provide wildfire response. All response efforts are being coordinated through Emergency Management British Columbia.

Fire restrictions in Alberta

  • After a prolonged period of hot, dry weather, a fire restriction has been put in place in the forested parts of Alberta south of Highway 532.
  • Campfires within campgrounds in designated fire rings in this area are still permitted. Gas or propane stoves/barbecues and portable propane fire pits are also allowed.
  • The best way for Albertans to find out if there is a fire ban, restriction or advisory in their area is to visit AlbertaFireBans.ca.

 

Backgrounder: Update 1: Alberta supports B.C. wildfire response

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