Wildfire smoke sank Edmonton’s air quality rating on Tuesday.
The city’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) rating rose throughout the early morning, peaking at a level eight, or high risk, by 8 a.m. As of 2 p.m., the rating was a four, or moderate risk.
“Many Albertans woke up this morning to smoke in the air, which is a constant reminder of the intensity of this wildfire season,” said Christie Tucker, Alberta Wildfire’s information unit manager.
Eighty-six wildfires continued to burn across northern and central Alberta Tuesday afternoon. Twenty-four of the wildfires were classified as out of control by Alberta Wildfire.
“Smoke has actually offered some help to create cooler conditions in some areas, and so far today our wildfires have been slightly less active than anticipated.”
However, hot and dry conditions continue across much of the province, posing “a significant threat to many communities,” said Colin Blair, Alberta Emergency Management Agency’s executive director.
There are currently 21 evacuation orders in Alberta, including new ones overnight and Tuesday afternoon:
- A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the town of Swan Hills at 1:16 p.m.. A reception centre has been set up at the Barrhead Arena at 5607 47 Street in Barrhead. All evacuees are encouraged to register at the reception centre or by calling 780-333-4119. More information on the alert is available here.
- At 5:30 a.m., Peavine Métis Settlement was evacuated. Evacuees were told to take important documents, medication, and supplies and go to the Kapawe’no Centre (780-523-8214) in Grouard or to the Smoky River FCSS in Falher. More details about the evacuation are available here. The fire threatening the settlement is about 64,000 hectares in size.
- On the other side of the Peace River, residents in the area of Dunvegan West Wildland Provincial Park were told to prepare for evacuation. A 29,000-hectare fire is moving south along the west bank of the river. More details about the evacuation alert are available here.
Drayton Valley and some Brazeau County residents were allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon after the community was evacuated due to a wildfire on May 4.