AHS reinstates air quality advisory as smoke drifts into Capital Region

Just one hour after dropping an air quality advisory for the Edmonton Zone, Alberta Health Services reinstated it after heavy smoke quickly drifted into the Capital Region Thursday afternoon.

Fire crews in the Edmonton area were fielding a lot of reports of smoke Thursday afternoon. Residents were calling Global News as well, reporting significant smoke in the air and asking about any local fires.

The Stony Plain Fire Department said it was also receiving a lot of calls, but said there were no fires in its jurisdiction.

“We are aware of the heavy smoke in the air,” the fire chief said in a Facebook post. “We currently do not have any active fires in the area. The changes in the atmosphere are bringing smoke from the Alberta wildfires. Please continue to be vigilant watching for fires.

“If you see flames from a wildland fire, contact 911. If you have health concerns contact Alberta Health Services and close your windows and stay inside.”

Smoke from Fort McMurray drifting south, May 19, 2016.

Nancy Carlson, Global News

A thick haze of smoke hangs over Edmonton’s skyline on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

Nancy Carlson/ Global News

Smoke from Fort McMurray drifting south, May 19, 2016.

Nancy Carlson, Global News

Smoke from Fort McMurray drifting south, May 19, 2016.

Smoke from Fort McMurray drifting south, May 19, 2016.

Smoke from Fort McMurray drifting south, May 19, 2016.

Smoke in Edmonton drifting in from the northern Alberta wildfires, May 19, 2016.

Wes Rosa, Global News

“We had northeasterly winds for most of the day here and what that actually did is it moved a bunch of the smoke from the Fort McMurray fires into Edmonton which around four o’clock, started to reduce some visibility and give bad AQHI (Air Quality Health Index) readings for the city of Edmonton,” Eldon Albrecht, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said.

“It moved into the Cold Lake area early this morning and later this afternoon it moved right into us.”

AQHI in Edmonton is currently a 10/10 (or VERY bad). Take precautions to limit outdoor exposure. Eyes currently burning. #yegwx #ymmfire

— Margeaux Morin (@MargeauxMorin) May 20, 2016

Albrecht added that he expects the smoke to clear out sometime overnight as precipitation is expected and winds are expected to come predominantly from the west on Friday.

An air quality advisory was also issued in the AHS North Zone for Bonnyville, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, Smoky Lake and Elk Point.

Air quality is expected to be variable across much of the Edmonton Zone over the coming days, & potentially, weeks. https://t.co/nrRsTh2D4z

— AHS_YEGZone (@AHS_YEGZone) May 19, 2016

ChangSha Night Net


  • Fort McMurray wildfire nearly as big as PEI, crosses Saskatchewan border
  • Alberta fire ban and off-highway vehicle restrictions eased ahead of long weekendLate Thursday afternoon, a post appeared on the Edmonton and District Soccer Association’s Facebook page to say all of its Thursday evening games were being cancelled because of the change in air quality.The Edmonton Amateur Baseball Association said it will be up to each team to determine whether to play Thursday. Due to the air quality, some Rookie teams have cancelled their games. The Edmonton Minor Soccer Association is also having individual referees make the call on the fields.After issuing an air quality advisory for the Edmonton Zone May 12, AHS lifted that advisory Thursday before reinstating it shortly after.Alberta Environment had the air quality health index at a Level 7 as of 4 p.m. Thursday.Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was also receiving numerous calls about the smoke. It was sending out crews to confirm there were no fires in the Edmonton area. A spokesperson for the EFRS said the smoke was blowing in from outside the city, specifically from the Whitecourt and Fox Creek areas.