In the heat of the summer, you can't expect the air quality to always be the best. When cars, emissions, and general air pollution combines with scorching summer temperatures, air quality suffers, especially in the big city.
Environment Canada has just issued an air quality warning for the city of Montreal and the surrounding area. Most of Southern Quebec around the city is under smog warning. Currently, the air quality index in some parts of Montreal is well over 60, which can be detrimental to people who are sensitive to air pollutants.
According to The Weather Network, "high levels of pollutants" are expected until Wednesday morning. It's recommended that people with asthma, respiratory problems, or heart disease avoid strenuous outdoor activity.
The smog warning is predominantly affecting the North Shore of Montreal but Downtown is still under the warning despite showing a higher level of air quality. The South Shore is also setting off the air quality index alarms, but it's not as smoggy.
While it's smoggy in Montreal, parts of Southern Quebec are affected by various air quality warnings. Specifically, the air quality warnings are localized to the Laurentians, the Mauricie, the Abitibi, and the Mont-Laurier regions.
Lachute-Saint-Jérôme, the Lanaudière, Richelieu Valley-Saint-Hyacinthe, and Vaudreuil-Soulanges-Huntingdon are also under smog warnings like Montreal.
According to Environment Canada, smoke plumes from forest fires in Northern Ontario are being carried along by the air current and are dispersing their pollutants over parts of Southern Quebec. It should all be over by Wednesday morning, though.
While the air quality shouldn't affect the general public, vulnerable groups are at risk for symptoms such as dizziness and shortness of breath. Specifically, people with asthma and respiratory conditions should avoid the outdoors today.
According to CBC News, there are currently 18 forest fires raging in Northern Ontario. First Nations communities of Keewaywin and Pikangikum are being evacuated as a precautionary measure. They've since declared a state of emergency.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Ontario says that some of the fires are not in control and in some parts, well over 80,000 hectares of forest are currently burning.
While evacuations in Northern Ontario continue as firefighters try to halt the progression of 18 forest fires, air quality will be affected more than usual.
Let's hope that this all ends soon and that those affected communities can return to their homes!