Canadian wildfire smoke prompting health warnings from US health departments for second year straight

Air quality advisories went out on Sunday in Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin due to the amount of smoke from fires burning in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories.

Canadian wildfire smoke prompting health warnings from US health departments for second year straight
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Western Canadian wildfires are sending smoke across the southern border, leading to warnings from American health experts for the second year in a row.

Air quality advisories went out on Sunday in Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin due to the amount of smoke from fires burning in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories, reports Global News.

Air quality alerts were also issued in those provinces and territories, due to the fires.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said that the levels of haze in the air were unhealthy for everyone and urged residents to stay indoors. The agency extended that alert until 11 pm on Monday.

Another alert from the neighbouring Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources advised multiple counties of dangerous air quality.

The US Air Quality Index on Monday also noted that there was unhealthy levels of smoke in northern Iowa. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that there was smoke spreading, attributing it to a low-pressure system.

Last week, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told reporters that human activity was the main cause for most of the wildfire activity in the province so far this year.

“We have to be concerned about climate change,” Smith said to a reporter. “But I can also tell you that all but one were [caused by] human activity.”

“We have to be responsible and send the message to the community [that] they've got to be careful,” she said, referring to residents of the province. “They have to be careful when it's dry. They have to be careful when they have campfires, use equipment or burn garbage.”

The minister of forestry and parks, Todd Loewen, also commented in April that human activity was responsible for "almost all" of the wildfires.

“We expect that almost all of the wildfires we've experienced so far this year are human-caused, given the point we're at in the season and the types of weather we're seeing,” he said.

Throughout the 2023 wildfire season, 1,094 fires burnt a record 2.2 million hectares. The five-year average is 1,110 wildfires, though 2023 saw 10 times the hectares burned.

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