Heavy smoke in parts of N.W.T., air quality statement in effect

Environment Canada has issued an air quality statement for parts of the N.W.T.’s Mackenzie Delta region, including Fort McPherson and Tsiigehtchic, largely due to wildfires in Alaska.

According to a live fire smoke map, winds are blowing smoke across most of the territory as of Saturday afternoon, mainly from the west, but also from Alberta and southern N.W.T.

Heat warnings are also persisting across southern parts of the N.W.T. on Saturday, with temperatures reaching 30 C.

A severe thunderstorm alert has also been issued for for Nahanni Butte, Wrigley, Fort Liard and Sambaa K’e “that may be capable of producing heavy rain, strong wind gusts, and large hail,” according to Environment Canada.

Symptoms include coughing, headaches

Inhaling wildfire smoke can cause symptoms including coughing, eye and nose irritation, headaches and shortness of breath. It can also trigger asthma attacks, chest tightness or rapid heart rates.

People experiencing symptoms are advised to reduce their smoke exposure, according to the statement.

Wildfire northwest of Yellowknife grows

Meanwhile, a fire burning about 40 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife has grown overnight, according to N.W.T. Fire., although it’s not causing the smokey conditions in the city.

The fire had tripled in size on Friday to about 941 hectares. On Saturday afternoon, officials said the fire is now 1,300 hectares and still burning out of control.

An air tanker will drop fire retardant on the southern and eastern edges of the fire, according to the update.

While there is no threat to the city, the fire danger for the North Slave region remains extreme, said N.W.T. Fire in a Facebook update.

A fire ban was put into effect Friday for Yellowknife, and the Fred Henne and Yellowknife River territorial parks.

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