Calgary remains under a special air quality statement due to wildfire smoke, but Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) suggests the situation could get better on Thursday.
According to the agency, the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) reading at 6 a.m. is listed at eight, or high risk, an improvement from levels of 10+ earlier in the week.
Under these conditions, residents, particularly those most at risk of respiratory issues, should still take precautions, ECCC says.
“(Reduce or) consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation,” the AQHI website reads.
The conditions have been a struggle for many Calgarians, including those who work in the outdoors.
“We’re just moving a whole lot slower,” Ryan McAloon of Project Landscaping told CTV News on Wednesday. “I have breathing problems as well, so things like this, they do affect us on a daily basis. But just moving slower and taking constant breaks makes a big difference.”
The AQHI is expected to remain at eight for the majority of Thursday, but by the evening, it’s forecasted to drop to five, or moderate risk.
WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO BURN
Calgary isn’t the only community still under a special air quality statement; much of the province, plus portions of B.C. and Saskatchewan, are under the advisory on Thursday.
The number of wildfire evacuees in Alberta has dropped after residents of the town of Drayton Valley, about 145 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, were recently allowed to return home.
However, roughly 12,000 people remain forced from their homes.
Indigenous Services Canada says wildfires in Alberta are threatening nine First Nations communities, while nine others are identified to be “on watch” for threat of wildfire.
Of the 92 active wildfires in the province as of Wednesday evening, 26 were listed as out of control.
There are more than 2,500 people fighting the wildfires in Alberta, including support from across Canada, the Armed Forces and the United States.
(With files from the Canadian Press)