TORONTO, June 6, 2023 – Due to smoke from wildfires in Quebec and Northeastern Ontario a Special Air Quality Statement has been issued for Southern Ontario by Environment ad Climate Change Canada. ECCC says residents can expect “High levels of air pollution” due to smoke from forest fires.
ECCC says “Smoke plumes from forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario may result in deteriorated air quality through most of this week. Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour. “
For more details, please consult www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html.
Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health – take precautions
Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. Continue to take actions to protect your health and reduce exposure to smoke. People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.
Stop outdoor activities and contact your health care provider if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath, wheezing (including asthma attacks), severe cough, dizziness or chest pains.
Stay inside if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms. Keep your indoor air clean. Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable. Use an air purifier with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in a room where you spend a lot of time. Avoid air purifiers that produce ozone. Check the filter and change it if required. For more information visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/using-portable-air-cleaner-wildfire-smoke.html.
Take a break from the smoke by temporarily relocating or finding a location in your community with clean, cool air such as a library, shopping mall or community centre. Contact your local health or municipal authorities for more information.
If you must spend time outside wear N95 mask
If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke.
It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms. Be sure to check on people in your care and those around you who may be more susceptible to smoke. Pay attention to information and direction from your local authorities and evacuate if told to do so.
Review your wildfire smoke plan and make sure you have enough medical supplies if the smoke continues to impact your community. Contact your health care provider if your condition is not improving. Be aware of your mental health. It is normal to feel anxious or isolated during a smoke event.
If you experience any feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, contact your mental health care provider for advice or visit https://www.wellnesstogether.ca/en-CA. Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.
Issued by Environment Canada and the Province of Ontario