Smoke from the raging fire in Fort McMurray has moved into Saskatchewan, producing low visibility in some areas.
Environment Canada issued special air quality statements for parts of the province, saying northwest winds are spreading smoke from wildfires in northeast Alberta into portions of western and central Saskatchewan.
As of 7 p.m. Thursday, the following areas were at risk.
- Cluff Lake Mine
- La Loche and Clearwater River Prov. Park
- Buffalo Narrows and Peter Pond Lake
- Île à la Crosse and Beauval
- Green Lake
- R.M. of Beaver River including Pierceland and Goodsoil
- R.M. of Big River including Big River and Chitek Lake
- R.M. of Loon Lake including Loon Lake and Makwa
- R.M. of Meadow Lake including Waterhen Res.
The statement said smoke near the ground is causing very high health risk conditions.
The agency warns people might experience symptoms such as increased coughing, headaches or shortness of breath.
Those most at risk include children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma and COPD.
Environment Canada encourages people to check local weather forecasts and alerts in the coming days to know when extra care will be needed.
Saskatoon and Regina are noted as being at moderate risk for impacted air quality.
Meteorologist John Paul Cragg said winds will bring the smoke into southern Saskatchewan near Saskatoon Thursday afternoon and push it to Regina by the end of Friday.
“By the time it makes it to Saskatoon, it looks like it will have dissipated enough that it won’t cause a lot of air quality issues,” he said.
Skies in Saskatoon will be hazy and it is still recommended that people with lung diseases or extreme breathing problems check Environment Canada before heading outside.