Edmonton air quality stalls May long weekend plans for businesses, families

21 May 2023 | Canada | 31 |
Edmonton air quality stalls May long weekend plans for businesses, families

Air quality in much of Alberta is staggeringly high as smoke from volatile wildfires sweeps across the province. In Edmonton Saturday the air quality was at a 10-plus — very high risk, according to Environment Canada.

As smoke settled over the city this May long weekend, many people were forced to cancel outdoor plans. Businesses and attractions across the city, including Fort Edmonton Park, which was set to have its season opening Saturday, closed due to the air quality.

Renee Williams with Fort Edmonton Management said their team is monitoring the situation and hoping they can open the doors to the public Sunday morning.

“It’s a bit surreal down here … You can’t even see the tree line of the river valley just above us, and you can’t see the houses that normally are there,” she said.

“We want our guests to be safe, we want our staff to be safe, our animals, which are part of our staff, we wanted to make them safe as well.  We wanted to make a call that was going to make everybody feel comfortable and safe for the day.”

Edmonton resident Kathleen Parry said she was looking forward to heading to Jasper this long weekend for some hiking and time outdoors, but the smoke has her changing her plans.

“Definitely threw a wrench in our plans,” she said. “Can’t do much about it but just trying to cope with how everything’s changing as it goes.”

She said the air quality is really concerning, especially as a health-care worker and someone who has family members who are really affected by the smoke.

“You can smell it in my house, you can smell it in the hospital, so it’s very obvious there’s lots of debris in the air, even if you can’t see it… For me it was really important to make sure my air quality in my house was as good as it could be, just because we’re probably going to be spending quite a bit of time inside, not so much outside, like we were hoping.”

Brian Muchemi, business development manager for Purair Edmonton said right now is an essential time that homeowners should look to get their air filters changed and furnace cleaned.

“With the wildfires … you find a lot of the volatile organic compounds will seep into the home using that fresh air intake,” he explained. Not changing air filters can impact health, he said. The smoky air that comes into the home won’t be get absorbed by the dirty filter, and you’ll end up breathing in smoky, unhealthy air, he said.

“If you don’t change your filter, you’re pretty much coexisting with really poor air quality, and this is unfortunately how people get sick.”

by Global News