A significant wave of smoky conditions is currently sweeping across northern and central Saskatchewan, prompting numerous special air quality statements. The atmospheric effects of rampant wildfires have rolled as far south as Kindersley, reaching as far north as Uranium City.
The circulating smoke, a consequent of uncontrolled wildfires, is capable of detrimental health effects for everyone, even at lower concentrations, warns the City of Saskatoon, thereby urging its citizens to take active measures to decrease their exposure to this pervasive wildfire smoke.
In addition, Environment Canada, the country’s national environment agency, suggests that certain vulnerable groups manage their exposure to the smoky conditions cautiously. This includes people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or cardiovascular diseases, children, older adults, and pregnant individuals, as they stand a higher risk of experiencing adverse health effects from the smoky environment.
The agency further advises individuals to seek solace from the smoky atmosphere in locations within their communities where they can access clean, cool air.
Saskatoon’s Air Quality Health Index currently stands at a moderate risk level of six. As the situation unfolds daily, it was reported that as of August 27, there were 25 active wildfires in the region – all positioned north of Prince Albert. One of these active fires is currently described as contained, while the remaining 24 are presently under evaluation.
As a grim reflection of climate change and its aftermath, the year 2023 has seen a total of 415 recorded wildfires, surpassing the five-year average of 352 – a stark reminder of the escalating situation.