Poor air quality from wafting wildfire smoke again shuts down some Edmonton outdoor facilities like pools


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A brief Friday respite from poor air quality due to wildfires to the west and south of Alberta ended early Saturday with an air quality alert for Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park, say authorities.

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“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health,” warns the Saturday joint alert from Environment Canada, Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, updated just before noon.

While thunder rolled and the air quality sat safely on Friday and early Saturday at just 3 out of 10 before 6 a.m., the turbulent weather passed over Edmonton later and the safety hazard jumped to 8, or high risk to those with some health conditions.

Those at risk should postpone outdoor activities until the air quality improves while those generally not bothered by the haze should reconsider outside plans or risk throat irritation and coughing, warns the alert.

An alert was first issued for the Edmonton area Thursday when smoke from wildfires in British Columbia, North Dakota and Montana pressed in to Alberta.

Outdoor City of Edmonton facilities like pools and the Green Shack program for kids were shuttered as a result. Saturday’s smoke triggered the same closures, according to the city’s website.