Smoke From The Alberta Wildfires Will Contaminate Montreal Tomorrow
Environment Canada has issued air quality alerts for Alberta and British Columbia.
Wildfires in Alberta continue to devastate the countryside. According to the Edmonton Journal, 5,000 people have been evacuated from the areas most at risk. 130,000 hectares have been consumed by the flames.
The effects of the blazes reach far beyond their immediate area, however. Smoke has spread across western Canada. Environment Canada has issued air quality warnings for much of northern Alberta and the interior of British Columbia.
But according to FireSmoke Canada, a website supported by the governments of Canada, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, smoke has spread to a lesser degree across North America.
Pollutants have reached as far as California, Alaska, and, by tomorrow, Ontario and Quebec. Though smoke particles will be at the lowest level measured by FireSmoke, they will nevertheless affect air quality in the eartern part of the country.
The map below displays the extent of the pollutants (known as particulate matter) from smoke, which will reach their greatest extent on May 29th at 19:00 UTC, or 14:00 EST.
Firesmoke maps PM2.5 levels across the country. According to the United Kingdom Department of the Environment, PM2.5 refers to "the mass per cubic metre of air of particles with a size (diameter) generally less than 2.5 micrometres."
"Inhalation of particulate pollution can have adverse health impacts, and there is understood to be no safe threshold below which no adverse effects would be anticipated," the department explains on its website.
So though PM2.5 levels will be low over Montreal, the particulate matter from the smoke will be nonetheless hazardous. Long-term exposure to particulate matter can result in cardiovascular problems.
Environment Canada has not issued an air quality alert for Ontario or Quebec.
To check out the FireSmoke Canada map, check out the organization's website here.
Stay tuned to the Environment Canada alerts page for updates on the Alberta wildfires and the spread of their smoke across the country.