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Air quality warnings hit Saskatchewan as smoke from Fort McMurray fire moves east

Fort McMurray fire

Fort McMurray fireThe wildfire that has engulfed Fort McMurray and sent every resident of the Northern Alberta town scrambling for safety has been national news for a week. Now the effects of the blaze are spreading to other parts of the country in the form of poor air quality.

Early this morning, and for the second consecutive day, Environment Canada issued special air quality statements for parts of Saskatchewan, including the province’s largest city, Saskatoon. The government agency says winds have spread smoke the fire into parts of northeastern Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan. They say people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD can be particularly sensitive to the effects of air pollution and should be mindful of symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or throat irritation.

Officials believe the Fort McMurray fire could grow to more than two-thousand square kilometres by Saturday, an area that is three times the size of Toronto.

“I can tell you that the estimated size is now up to 156,000 hectares and continuing to grow to the northeast,” Matthew Anderson, a wildfire information officer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said this morning.

The Fort McMurray fire, which has destroyed more than 1600 building and displaced more than 90,000 people already, is expected to last for many more days, even if conditions for battling the blaze became more favourable.

“We do need some rain, there is no question about it. And even once we get rain, there’s still going to be a lot of fire out there and a lot of work,” said Chad Morrison, Alberta’s senior manager for wildfire prevention.

“We’ll be here for weeks and weeks to put that fire out.”

The Environment Canada air quality alert: areas affect by the Fort McMurray fire, as of Friday, May 6:

Green Lake
R.M. of Beaver River including Pierceland and Goodsoil
R.M. of Big River including Big River and Chitek Lake
R.M. of Loon Lake including Loon Lake and Makwa
R.M. of Meadow Lake including Waterhen Res.
Buffalo Narrows and Peter Pond Lake
Île à la Crosse and Beauval
Cluff Lake Mine
La Loche and Clearwater River Prov. Park
City of Prince Albert
District of Lakeland including Emma Lake and Anglin Lake
R.M. of Birch Hills including Muskoday Res.
R.M. of Buckland including Wahpeton Res. and Spruce Home
R.M. of Canwood including Debden and Big River Res.
R.M. of Duck Lake including Duck Lake and Beardy’s Res.
R.M. of Garden River including Meath Park and Albertville
R.M. of Leask including Leask Mistawasis Res. and Parkside
R.M. of Meeting Lake
R.M. of Paddockwood including Candle Lake and Paddockwood
R.M. of Prince Albert including Davis
R.M. of Shellbrook including Sturgeon Lake Res.
R.M. of Spiritwood including Spiritwood and Leoville
R.M. of St Louis including One Arrow Res. and Domremy
R.M. of Battle River including Sweet Grass Res. and Delmas
R.M. of Britannia including Hillmond
R.M. of Buffalo including Wilkie and Phippen
R.M. of Cut Knife including Cut Knife
R.M. of Douglas including Speers Richard and Alticane
R.M. of Eldon including Maidstone and Waseca
R.M. of Frenchman Butte including St. Walburg
R.M. of Glenside north of Biggar
R.M. of Hillsdale including Neilburg and Baldwinton
R.M. of Manitou Lake including Marsden
R.M. of Mayfield including Maymont Denholm and Fielding
R.M. of Medstead including Medstead Belbutte and Birch Lake
R.M. of Meota including Meota and The Battlefords Prov. Park
R.M. of Mervin including Turtleford Mervin and Spruce Lake
R.M. of North Battleford northwest of The Battlefords
R.M. of Parkdale including Glaslyn and Fairholme
R.M. of Paynton including Paynton
R.M. of Round Hill including Rabbit Lake and Whitkow
R.M. of Round Valley including Unity
R.M. of Senlac including Senlac
R.M. of Turtle River including Edam and Vawn
R.M. of Wilton including Lashburn Marshall and Lone Rock
The Battlefords
R.M. of Aberdeen including Aberdeen
R.M. of Bayne including Bruno Peterson and Dana
R.M. of Blaine Lake including Blaine Lake
R.M. of Blucher including Allan Clavet Bradwell and Elstow
R.M. of Colonsay including Colonsay and Meacham
R.M. of Corman Park including Martensville Warman and Langham
R.M. of Eagle Creek including Arelee and Sonningdale
R.M. of Fish Creek including Alvena
R.M. of Grant including Vonda Prud’homme and Smuts
R.M. of Great Bend including Radisson and Borden
R.M. of Hoodoo including Wakaw and Cudworth
R.M. of Laird including Waldheim Hepburn and Laird
R.M. of Perdue including Perdue and Kinley
R.M. of Redberry including Hafford and Krydor
R.M. of Rosthern including Rosthern Hague and Carlton
R.M. of Vanscoy including Delisle Asquith and Vanscoy
R.M. of Viscount including Viscount and Plunkett
Cluff Lake Mine
La Loche and Clearwater River Prov. Park

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