Special air quality statement ended for Toronto as forest fire smoke moves out

Michelle Mackey has more on a special air quality statement issued on Sunday due to forest fire smoke as well as rising heat and humidity.

A special air quality statement from Environment Canada has now ended for the Greater Toronto Area as forest smoke moves out of the region and is no longer expected in the area until later on Monday.

The statement was issued on Sunday as the weather agency warned of increasing air pollution, cautioning that smoke plumes due to ongoing forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario “have resulted in deteriorated air quality” in Toronto, Hamilton and parts of Peel, Halton and Niagara regions.

“High levels of air pollution have developed due to smoke from forest fires,” the statement said.

“Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerable from hour to hour.”

RELATED: Wildfire pollution can cause headaches, skin irritation

While the statement noted conditions were expected to improve late Sunday and early Monday, officials warned people with lung or heart disease, seniors, children, outdoor workers and people who are pregnant are at higher risk of being affected.

“Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations,” the statement said. “Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you or someone in your care feel unwell. Contact your health care provider or local health authority if you develop severe symptoms or need advice.”

Here are additional tips provided by experts to address and minimize the impacts of forest fire smoke:

  • Consider wearing a N-95 mask for lengthy periods outdoors when air quality is poor
  • Turn on air conditioning, use HEPA filters if possible
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, visit a mall or a public place with central air for a break
  • Pay attention to weather statements and air quality advisories
  • Exercise indoors if possible

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