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Environment Canada issues air quality warning

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality alert as wildfire smoke is blanketing much of southern Manitoba, resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

According to the alert, westerly winds are spreading significant amounts of wildfire smoke across the prairies and will continue to do so until a cold front pushes through the region. The cold front is expected to move through western Saskatchewan this morning, and then slump southeastwards, moving through eastern Saskatchewan by Tuesday evening, and then across southern Manitoba on Tuesday night. As the cold front passes, cleaner air will move in from the north.

For many areas, this event will be seen by very hazy skies with moderately elevated Air Quality Health Index values in the four to seven range. However, due to local effects, some areas will see significant reductions in air quality, with AQHI values exceeding seven (high) and potentially exceeding 10 (very high).

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. 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.

Manitobans with health questions or concerns can contact their healthcare provider or call Health Links - Info Sante at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257. More information on the health effects of smoke is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/smoke.html.



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