UPDATED: Health advisory issued for Ponoka and area as wildfire continues to rage

Smoke reaches central Alberta

Smoke from the northern Alberta wildfires has reached much of the rest of Alberta and those with breathing difficulties are being advised to stay indoors.

Air quality alert

The alert for the Wetaskiwin, Leduc, Ponoka, Bashaw and Red Deer areas issued by Environment Canada, Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services states:

“Smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility in some areas.

In central parts of the province smoke is expected to move back north by Friday morning as the flow shifts to southeasterly.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.

Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.”

More information can be found at www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/air.aspx.

Visit www.airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk.

Update on Chuckegg Creek wildfire

The Alberta government issued a news release on May 29 with updates on the fire in northern Alberta.

The Chuckegg Creek wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres southwest of the Town of High Level in Mackenzie County. This out-of-control wildfire has grown to more than 150,000 hectares.

READ MORE: Hot, dry, windy conditions lead to warning that Alberta wildfires could blow up

Resources on the ground include about 390 wildland firefighters and staff, 28 helicopters and heavy equipment.

Cabinet approved two orders in council to release funds to cover emergency response including structural firefighting efforts, evacuation costs, reception centre costs, and recovery costs as well as fire prevention, suppression, reclamation and reforestation costs.

New mandatory evacuations have been issued for: Wabasca, Bigstone Cree Nation, Chipewyan Lake Village, Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, La Crete Ferry Campground, Steen River, Hawk Hills, Keg River, Carcajou and for residents living between Township Road 922 and north to Northern Lights County.

Officials are preparing for residents to re-enter High Level once public safety has been confirmed.

Visit emergency.alberta.ca for detailed and frequently updated information.

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