This page features data and information on the Fort McMurray Fire from May 6 – June 19, 2016. 

June 19, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 15, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 14, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

** Due to technical issues, some of the June 12 monitoring data is not currently available. We are working to resolve the issue and will post the missing data as soon as possible.  

*** On June 13, connectivity to the Keyano College Main Campus monitor was lost.  This issue is being investigated and the missing data will be posted as soon as possible.

June 13, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 10, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 9, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 8, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 7, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires.

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 6, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 3, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 2, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 1, 2016

AEMERA began the second mobile air monitoring survey using the MAML (Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory) on May 31, 2016. Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided:

Data from volatile organic compounds (VOC) sampling:

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 25, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Click here for data and information on the Fort McMurray Fire from May 6 – May 24, 2016.

June 15, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 14, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

** Due to technical issues, some of the June 12 monitoring data is not currently available. We are working to resolve the issue and will post the missing data as soon as possible.  

*** On June 13, connectivity to the Keyano College Main Campus monitor was lost.  This issue is being investigated and the missing data will be posted as soon as possible.

June 13, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 10, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 9, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 8, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during fores

June 7, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires.

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 6, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 3, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 2, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided for the following sites:

June 1, 2016

AEMERA began the second mobile air monitoring survey using the MAML (Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory) on May 31, 2016. Hourly readings for particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), ozone (O3), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are provided:

Data from volatile organic compounds (VOC) sampling:

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5)* at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 25, 2016

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5) at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

Three of our staff were seconded early on to participate in the Forestry Communications aspect of the fire, since these folks had a background in this area.

Tim Armstrong is a Meteorological Technologist from our Lethbridge office.  He was a 15 year veteran Comms Tech with Forestry before coming to our Monitoring group. He lived in Slave Lake, and worked the Slave Lake Fire, and thus volunteered his expertise up front and was snapped up eagerly.  He deployed through Edmonton to Slave Lake on May 6th, where he helped stage some of the communications systems, easing the burden on Fort McMurray.  Later, he traveled to Fort McMurray to help set up the communication systems Command Post near the airport, and helped oversee the Post.  He returned to Lethbridge today for some needed RnR.

Agnieszka Sztaba is also a former Forestry tech, working as a radio dispatcher before coming to Environmental Monitoring and Science (formerly AEMERA) and working in our Wildlife area.  She lives in Fort McMurray with her husband, who also works for Forestry.  Agnieszka started working with the Radio Room in the Provincial Building where her office is located, almost immediately early in the emergency and spent many long hours at the radio and phone managing the many rotor and fixed wing aircraft in the air.  She was able to bug out for some much needed rest in the Cochrane area before returning Monday to FMM to dispatch.

Andrew Braid is also a new hire with Environmental Monitoring and Science (formerly AEMERA) in the Wildlife area (both Andrew and Agnieszka work for Simon Slater).  He has 4 seasons with the Helitack crews and his experience was eagerly taken up by Forestry to help manage helitack bases.  He had to move camps due to fire threat, but is still on duty for an 18 day shift, and scheduled for RnR on May 25.

We are proud of the efforts of these staff, stepping up and helping with the overall effort of Forestry Operations to manage the Fire.  Other staff are involved in the Monitoring of Air and Water in Fort McMurray, but these three have had a lengthy sustained and focused work effort over many days in a stressful work environment.  We would like to recognize this, and thank them for their dedication.

May 19, 2016

An Air Quality Advisory Remains in effect for Fort McMurray and Area due to the conditions created by smoke

A Precautionary Air Quality Advisory is in effect for Northern Alberta, Central Alberta, Edmonton Zone and  due to the possibility of smoky conditions created by wildfires burning in several locations.

Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: AQHI is currently 1 (Low Risk). AQHI of 2 is forecasted for today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Fort McMurray:
    • AQHI is currently 7 (High Risk), PM2.5 concentrations are currently 114 ug/m3 at Patricia MacInnes (north area) and 76 ug/m3 at Athabasca Valley (located in the Lower Townsite) as of 7 AM.
    • A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI of 10+ is forecasted for today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: AQHI is currently at 3 with a current PM2.5 concentration of 45 ug/m3. AQHI Forecast is 10+ for today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Six Additional Portable Particulate Monitoring:
    • Fire Hall #1:  PM2.5 concentrations were high over night (~90 ug/m3), however PM2.5 is lower, ~20 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • McDonald Island: PM2.5 concentrations were high over night (~100 ug/m3), however PM2.5 is lower, ~20-30 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • Clearwater: PM2.5 concentrations were low over night but have increased this morning, currently 84 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • Keyano College: PM2.5 concentrations were moderate overnight and currently 25 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • REOC/YMM Airport: PM2.5 concentrations were high overnight (>100 ug/m3) but have lowered this morning, currently 39 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • First Nation Health Centre (Gregoire Lake, South of Ft Mac): PM2.5 concentrations were high overnight (>100 ug/m3) but have lowered this morning, currently 30 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
  • MAML: the Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory monitored air quality in the Abasand and Timberlea communities yesterday. PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 124-303 ug/m3 in Abasand in the morning, 40-70 ug/m3 in Abasand around noon, and 10-80 ug/m3 at Ecole McTavish in Timberlea in the afternoon.
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: Very high PM2.5 concentrations, currently 188 ug/m3 at Conklin and 156 ug/m3 at Conklin Lookout as of 7 AM.  Current AQHI is 15 at Conklin and 16 and Conklin Lookout. This area is does not have AQHI forecasting.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place. AQHI is currently 1, with AQHI of 2 forecasted for today and 1 for tonight tomorrow. PM concentrations are currently < 5 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.

Other communities

  • Most the province is currently seeing low particulate concentrations and AQHIs in the low risk category. With rain in the forecast for the next few days, air quality should remain in the Low Risk category.
  • Cold Lake: Currently high PM2.5 concentrations (86 ug/m3 as of 7 AM). The AQHI is at 7 (High Risk) ad 7 AM.
  • Edmonton/Fort Saskatchewan: AQHI currently 2 and forecast to be 3 later today, tonight and tomorrow. PM2.5 concentrations are currently in the 20 ug/m3 range as of 7 AM.

Special Air Quality Statements are in Place for the Following Communities, and will be extended to Cold Lake Area shortly.

  • Lac La Biche Co. near Crow Lake Prov. Park
  • Lac La Biche Co. near Wiau Winefred and Grist Lakes
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Fort MacKay and Wallace Creek
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Fort McMurray and Anzac
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Gipsy Lake and Whitemud Falls
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Grand Rapids Wildland Prov. Park
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Janvier South and Conklin
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Mariana Lake
  • R.M. of Wood Buffalo near Stony Mtn Prov. Park and Engstrom Lake

Smoke Forecast:

  • Winds are expected to move smoke from the Fort McMurray fire to westward today and tomorrow, and keep smoke from the BC fires out of Alberta.
  • With rain expected through the next few days, smoke should remain in the NE portion of the province and particulate concentrations will likely fluctuate based on the amount of rain received.
  • Smoke may continue to move into communities south of Fort McMurray (Lac La Biche, Cold Lake) this afternoon and evening, however rain is expected in these communities today.
  • Particulate concentrations could still be at extreme levels in Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities over today and tomorrow.
  • Bluesky smoke forecast images below do no account for rain which may scavenge smoke/particulates from the air.

Weather Forecast – rain in the forecast; should reduce smoke and improve air quality

Winds are expected to be gusting again in Fort McMurray today, tonight and tomorrow. There is a 60 percent chance of rain today in Fort McMurray with 40 percent chance of rain tomorrow.

Rain is expected over much of the province today, along with moderate to gusting winds.

May 18, 2016

An Air Quality Advisory Remains in effect for Fort McMurray and Area due to the conditions created by smoke

A Precautionary Air Quality Advisory is in effect for Northern Alberta, Central Alberta, Edmonton Zone and  due to the possibility of smoky conditions created by wildfires burning in several locations.

Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: AQHI is currently 2 (Low Risk). AQHI of 10 is forecasted for today, 5 for tonight and 2 for tomorrow.
  • Fort McMurray:
    • AQHI is currently 13 (Very High Risk), with very high particulate matter concentrations; 147 ug/m3 at Patricia MacInnes (north area) and 319 ug/m3 at Athabasca Valley (located in the Lower Townsite).
    • A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI of 10+ is forecasted for today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: WBEA technicians are currently calibrating the Anzac air monitoring station. Real-time readings will be available from the Anzac stations shortly. AQHI Forecast is 10+ for today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Six Additional Portable Particulate Monitoring:
    • Fire Hall #1:  Back online. PM2.5 readings currently ~600 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • McDonald Island: High PM2.5 readings, currently PM2.5 600-700 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • Clearwater: High PM2.5 readings, currently 420 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • Keyano College: High PM2.5 readings, currently 227 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • REOC/YMM Airport: High PM2.5 readings, currently 178 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • First Nation Health Centre (Gregoire Lake, South of Ft Mac): Unit has been sending invalid data. Last valid PM 2.5 reading was 9 ug/m3 3:00 AM .
  • MAML: Marty Collins and Shane Taylor are operating the Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory, which has been monitoring air quality in Fort McMurray communities. The maximum PM2.5 concentration measured at the Urgent Care Centre (downtown) yesterday afternoon was 114 ug/m3. Today, monitoring will be conducted in the Abasand (AM) and Timberlea (PM) communities.
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: WBEA technicians are currently calibrating the Conklin air monitoring station. Real-time readings will be available from the Conklin station shortly. This area is does not have AQHI forecasting.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place for the Fort McKay area, and the AQHI is currently 2 (Low Risk) at Fort McKay-Bertha Ganter and Fort McKay South air monitoring stations. AQHI forecast is 10+ for today, 10 for tonight and 7 tomorrow. PM concentration is currently 5.13 ug/m3 at Fort McKay-Bertha Ganter and 4.96 ug/m3 at Fort McKay South.

Other communities

  • Most communities in the province are currently seeing low to moderate particulate concentrations, with AQHIs in the low risk category. Lamont is the only communities in the Moderate Health Risk category with AQHI of 4 (as of 7 AM) and a PM2.5 concentration of 20 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
  • Cold Lake/Lac La Biche: Current AQHI of 2, with 3 expected for later today and 4 expected tomorrow.
  • Peace River/Grande Prairie: Current AQHI of 2. AQHI of 2 expected today, tonight and tomorrow.
  • Edmonton/Fort Saskatchewan/Central Regions: All stations in and around Edmonton are reporting AQHI of 3 with 4 forecast for later today and tomorrow.
  • West Central Edson/Hinton/Drayton Valley: Current AQHI of 2-3 with 4 forecast for later today and tomorrow.
  • Calgary: AQHI is currently 2 and forecast to be 4 today, and 3 tonight and tomorrow.
  • Red Deer: AQHI is currently 2, forecasted to be 3 today and tonight and 2 tomorrow.
  • Lethbridge: AQHI is currently 2, forecasted to be 3 today and tonight and 2 tomorrow.
  • Lamont : AQHI is currently 4, forecasted to be 4 today and tonight and tomorrow. This appears to be a local impact not related to wildfire smoke

Smoke Forecast:

  • Smoke from fires near Fort St John (Alberta BC border) and from Fort McMurray fire is travelling to the east, but could have some southward movement today. Conklin, Cold Lake and Lac La Biche areas could be impacted. Models do not take into account rain that is forecast for these areas however.
  • Plumes are forecast to continue to move eastward from both the Fort McMurray and Fort St John fires tonight and tomorrow. Much of the smoke mass is forecast to remain in the northern part of the province, and will impact north of Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Fort Chipewyan and Anzac.
  • Fires in BC will continue to bring smoke into Alberta. Smoke is also forecast to travel into the Fort McMurray area from the BC fires today and tonight.

Weather Forecast – rain in the forecast; should reduce smoke and improve air quality

  • Winds are expected to be gusting again in Fort McMurray today, tonight and tomorrow. There is a 60 percent chance of rain overnight and on Thursday in Fort McMurray. There is 40 percent chance of rain Friday.
  • Winds are light in Cold Lake currently and there is 60 percent chance of rain tonight and overnight, with also 60 percent chance of rain tomorrow.
  • Winds will be moderate today in Grande Prairie, but gusting overnight. Rain is expected today, tomorrow and Friday and temperatures are expected to drop considerably (to 1 degree overnight Thursday.
  • Rain expected in Hinton over the next three days with lower temperatures.
  • Winds are currently light in Edmonton but will be gusting overnight. Showers are expected this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Showers are expected for Thursday and Friday as well.

Bluesky Smoke Forecast available at http://www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html 

Water Quality:

Environmental monitoring staff are deployed as follows:  Sarah Hustins and Monica Polutranko are deploying near-real-time (NRT) sondes/probes and water sampling, flying  out of Mariana Lakes. Rick Pickering and Chris Ware are in Fort McMurray jet-boating and deploying near-real-time sondes/probes and sampling water quality.

May 17, 2016

Precautionary Air Quality Advisory Remains in Effect for Fort McMurray and area due to smoky conditions leading to very high risk AQHI.

Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: AQHI is currently 14 (Very High Risk). Particulate matter levels* are very high 227 ug/m3 at 7 AM. AQHI of 10 is forecasted for tonight and 10 for tomorrow.
  • Fort McMurray:
    • AQHI is currently 15 (Very High Risk), with very high particulate matter concentrations; 216 ug/m3 at Patricia MacInnes (north area) and 309 ug/m3 at Athabasca Valley (located in the Lower Townsite).
    • A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI of 10 is forecasted for tonight and 10 for tomorrow.
  • Six Additional Portable Particulate Monitoring:
    • McDonald Island: PM2.5 concentrations high (~ 400 ug/m3 through the night).
    • Clearwater: High PM2.5 readings overnight (~400 ug/m3). PM2.5 currently 390 ug/m3 as of 7 AM).
    • Keyano College: High PM2.5 readings overnight (up to 400 ug/m3). PM2.5 currently 90 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • REOC/YMM Airport: PM2.5 concentrations have started to increase this morning. Currently 368 ug/m3 as of 7 AM.
    • First Nation Health Centre (Gregoire Lake, South of Ft Mac): Low PM 2.5 concentrations overnight. Currently 3 ug/m3 as of 7 AM .
  • MAML: the Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (formerly AEMERA) begun mobile monitoring using their Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory yesterday PM2.5 concentrations in the Gregoire neighborhood. Data was last provided at 7 PM yesterday evening. At that time PM2.5 concentration were ~60-80 ug/m3.
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: 5 concentrations are currently low at 7 AM: 14 ug/m3 at Conklin and 6 ug/m3 at Conklin Lookout.  Current AQHI is 3, Low Risk. This area is does not have forecasting.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place and the AQHI is currently 7 at Fort McKay and 4 at Fort McKay South (7 AM), with 10 forecasted for tonight and tomorrow. PM concentration is currently 72 ug/m3 at Fort McKay and 30 ug/m3 at Fort McKay South at 7 AM.
  • Anzac: AQHI is currently at  3 with a current PM2.5 concentration of 9 ug/m3. AQHI Forecast is 10 for tonight and tomorrow.

Other communities

  • Most communities in the province are seeing low particulate concentrations this morning, with AQHIs in the low risk category. Edmonton is the only community with the AQHI in the moderate risk category (AQHI of 4) this morning (as of 7 AM).

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5) at the following sites:

* Particulate matter/PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 16, 2016

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the affect for all areas of the North Zone due to wildfires.

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the effect for the Edmonton Zone due to smoke from Fort McMurray wildfires (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/Page13155.aspx).

A precautionary air quality advisory has been issued for the Central Zone due to smoke from Fort McMurray wildfires (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/Page13159.aspx).

 Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: Smoke (particulate matter) from the Fort McMurray fires is heading north. Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) values of 7 are forecasted for today and tomorrow. Current particulate matter (PM) concentration is 225 ug/m3 .
  • Fort McMurray:
    • Extremely smoky in the Fort McMurray area right now, and anyone working in those conditions will need to wear protective gear.  There is a web camera on WBEA’s Patricia McInnes air monitoring station in Fort McMurray that shows smokey conditions in the Timberlea area: wbea.org
    • Very high readings currently (546 ug/m3 as of 9 AM at WBEA’s Athabasca Valley air monitoring station, located in the Lower Townsite) and at WBEA’s Patricia McInnes air monitoring station (north area at 105 ug/m3).
    • A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 10+ are forecasted for today and 10+ for tomorrow.
  • Six Additional Portable Particulate Monitors:
    • Fire Hall #1: Offline
    • McDonald Island: Very high readings (1243 ug/m3 as of 7 AM)
    • Clearwater: Very high readings (676 ug/m3 as of 7 AM)
    • Keyano College: Very high readings (535 ug/m3 as of 7 AM)
    • REOC/YMM Airport: Very high readings (228ug/m3 as of 7 AM)
    • First Nation Health Centre (Gregoire Lake, South of Ft Mac): 23 ug/m3 as of 7AM
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: 23 ug/m3 at Conklin and 25 ug/m3 at Conklin Lookout.  Conklin AQHI is currently low to moderate risk.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 10+ are forecasted for today and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: The AQ station is back online. AQHI is currently at  5 with morning concentrations of PM  at 52 ug/m3. AQHI Forecast is 10+ for today.

Other communities

  • Most communities in the province are seeing elevated but not extreme levels of particulate  due to smoke movement from Fort McMurray or BC Fires.
  • Cold Lake/Lac La Biche: AQHI values of 5 for today but decreasing overnight to 4.  and 4 for tomorrow are expected.
  • Peace River/Grande Prairie: AQHI values of 5 for today and 3 tonight.
  • Edmonton/Fort Saskatchewan/Central Regions: PM readings are slightly elevated with a high of 34 ug/m3 in Edmonton, 29 in Fort Saskatchewan, 56 in Redwater. These readings give St. Albert, Edmonton and all stations located slightly northeast of Edmonton, AQHI values of 4 or 5. A precautionary air quality statement for the Edmonton Zone remains in place, and a precautionary air quality statement for the Central Zone has been issued today.  However, a special air quality statement has been lifted for these regions.
  • West Central Hinton/Drayton Valley are showing AQHI of 2, are is not currently forecasting.
  • Calgary Southeast. AQHI is forecasted to be at a 4 into tonight and 3 tomorrow.
  • Red Deer Riverside is at 27 ug/m3. AQHI is forecasted to be at a 3.

Important Notes

  • The primary driver for AQHI is particulate matter, which is produced by wild fires.
  • Ozone is naturally produced during warm, sunny days. Ozone concentration are likely to contribute to AQHI risk throughout the province due to high temperatures.

AQ/Smoke Forecast:

  • Smoke from fires near Fort St John (Alberta BC border) and from Fort McMurray fire are expected to cover much of Northern Alberta.
  • Plumes are forecast to move north and eastward from both the Fort McMurray and Fort St John fires. Much of the smoke mass is forecast to remain in the Fort McMurray Region and move north into Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan.
  • Peace Region could see high particulate matter concentrations this evening due to the Fort St John Fire.

Bluesky Maps

6PM Monday

6PM Monday

12 AM Tuesday

12 AM Tuesday

8 AM Tuesday

8 AM Tuesday

5 PM Tuesday

5 PM Tuesday

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5*) at the following sites:

* PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 13, 2016

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the affect for all areas of the North Zone due to wildfires.

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the effect for the Edmonton Zone due to smoke from Ft Mac wildfires (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/Page13155.aspx).

 A precautionary air quality advisory has been issued for the Central Zone due to smoke from Ft Mac wildfires (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/news/Page13159.aspx).

 Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires is heading south. AQHI values of 3 are forecasted for tonight and 2 for tomorrow.
  • Fort McMurray: Smoke (particulate matter) concentrations are still impacting the area. Very high readings today (>1000 ug/m3 as of 9 AM at Athabasca Valley station).  A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 11 are forecasted for today and 10 for tomorrow.  Extremely smoky in Ft Mac area right now, and anyone working in those conditions need to wear protective gears.  There is a web cam on the Patricia McInnes station in Fort McMurray so you can view the smoke in Timberlea.  It is accessible at wbea.org.
  • Six Additional Fort McMurray Portable Particulate Monitoring: REOC/airport, Clearwater/Quality Inn, Base of Operations/Keyano College, Fire Hall #1, McDonald Island, FMM First Nation Health Centre
    • Fire Hall #1: Very high readings (>2000 ug/m3 as of 9 AM)
    • McDonald Island: Very high readings (>2000 ug/m3 as of 9 AM)
    • Clearwater: ~1000 ug/m3 as of 9 AM
    • Keyano College: ~600 ug/m3 as of 9 AM
    • YMM Airport: ~580 ug/m3 as of 9 AM
    • First Nation Health Centre (Gregoire Lake, South of Ft Mac): 122 ug/m3 as of 9 AM
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: 121 ug/m3 at Conklin and 141 ug/m3 at Conklin Lookout.  Current AQHI forecast values of 9-10. A special air quality statement remains in place.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 4 are forecasted for today and 3 for tomorrow.
  • Anzac: The AQ station is still offline due to power interruption since last Friday. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 11 are forecasted for today and 10 for tomorrow.

Other communities

  • Cold Lake/Lac La Biche: AQHI values of 4 for tonight and 3 for tomorrow are expected.
  • Peace River/Grande Prairie: AQHI values of 3 for tonight and tomorrow are expected.
  • Edmonton/Central Regions: PM readings are much lower as most of the smoke have cleared out in the Edmonton/Central regions yesterday. A precautionary air quality statement for the Edmonton Zone remains in place, and a precautionary air quality statement for the Central Zone has been issued today. However, a special air quality statement has been lifted for these regions.

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5*) at the following sites:

* PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 12, 2016

There has been much more smoke in populated areas overnight than the last few nights.

BlueSky Forecast @ 8 AM Thursday May 12th

BlueSky Forecast @ 8 AM Thursday May 12th

Edmonton/Central Regions

  • Recommend issuing a precautionary air quality advisory for Edmonton and surrounding areas (e.g., Sherwood Park, St Albert, Spruce Grove) and central region area (e.g., Ft Saskatchewan, Lamont County, Genesee) due to the strong smoke blowing south from Ft McMurray region.  Current AQHI is forecast at 7 for Lamont County, while <5 for most others (e.g., Edmonton, Ft Saskatchewan, etc.).
  • Bluesky forecast smoke from Ft MuMrray area reaching the central and Edmonton regions and will persist for the rest of day.  More update to follow later today.
  • Update on Ft McMurray region and other communities in the rest of province will be forth coming later today.

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the affect for all areas of the North Zone due to wildfires.

 

Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires is heading south. AQHI values of 3 are forecasted for today and 2 for tomorrow.
  • Fort McMurray: Smoke (particulate matter) concentrations are still impacting the area. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 4 are forecasted for today and 5 for tomorrow.
  • Conklin Lookout/Conklin: High Risk range AQHI; Conklin Lookout: 117 ug/m3 (1-hr exceedance) as of 9 AM with upward trending; Conklin Community (back on-line today): 70 ug/m3 as of 9 AM with upward trending. A special air quality statement remains in place.
  • Fort McKay: A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 3 are forecasted for today and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: The WBEA Air Monitoring Station is still offline due to power interruption since last Friday. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 4 are forecasted for today and 5 for tomorrow.
  • Weather conditions: The meteorology is predicting winds blowing to the south but with fairly low speeds after sunset tonight so the plume will move slowly and remain concentrated.

Other communities

  • Cold Lake/Lac La Biche: AQHI values of 3 for today and tomorrow are expected.
  • Peace River/Grande Prairie: AQHI values of 3 for today and tomorrow are expected.
  • Edmonton/Central Regions (Edmonton, St Albert, Ft Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Lamont County, etc.): Significantly elevated PM readings due to heavy smoke blowing southward from Fort McMurray. A special air quality statement has been issued today for these regions.

Click to view Wildfire Smoke Forecasts for Western Canada

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5*) at the following sites:

* PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

May 11, 2016

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the affect for all areas of the North Zone due to wildfires.

Fort McMurray Region

  • Fort Chipewyan: Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires is impacting less on the community for the next 24 hours. For today and tomorrow, Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) values are forecasted to lower to 2.
  • Fort McMurray: Smoke (particulate matter) concentrations are still impacting the area. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 11 are forecasted for today and 8 for tomorrow.
  • Six Additional Fort McMurray Portable Particulate Monitoring: were set up at 6 locations (e.g. REOC/airport, Clearwater/Quality Inn, Base of Operations, Fire Hall #1, McDonald Island, FMM First Nation Health Centre) this past weekend and this week. Clearwater, Airport and the First Nations HC all had very elevated readings overnight (up to 450 ug/m3 at one which is usually an EBAM max) but have since dropped off some.  Airport is at 90 ug/m3 (still high risk), First Nations HC is at 66 ug/m3, Clearwater and Keyano are both under 2 0ug/m3 now.
  • Conklin: A new Conklin Lookout station has been recently put on line – currently > 100 ug/m3.  The high reading is due to the plume blowing South from Fort McMurray.Conklin Community station is currently off-line due to technical issues. Wood Buffalo Environmental Association technicians will be visiting the station today to resolve the issue.
  • Fort McKay: Smoke (particulate matter) concentration is currently low. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 2 are forecasted for today and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: The AQ station is still offline due to power interruption (since last Friday). Technicians are not able to get to the station due to safety reasons. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 11 are forecasted for today and 2 for tomorrow.

Other communities

  • Cold Lake/Lac La Biche: Air quality has improved in the area (currently at <20 ug/m3). AQHI values of 3 for today and 2 for tomorrow are expected.
  • Peace River/Grande Prairie: AQHI values of 2 for today and tomorrow are expected.
  • Fort Saskatchewan/Gibbons/Elk Island – Gusting winds may be still affecting readings for particulate matter at these stations.  Slight spikes for Ft Saskatchewan and higher spikes for Gibbons/Elk Island (~100 ug/m3 at 7 AM).

Smoke movement

  • Bluesky is predicting that the smoke plume will be touching Edmonton today, but at fairly low levels (likely not AQHI >5). The rest of the Province is expected to remain clear for most of the day until 7pm or so when the plume starts to head south. It is predicted to be smaller and less dense than previously thought. Click to view Wildfire Smoke Forecasts for Western Canada (http://www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/index.html)

Please see attached for graphs illustrating hourly particulate matter levels (PM2.5*) at the following sites:

* PM2.5 refers to very small particles that can be inhaled into your lungs and can be a health concern, depending on the levels of particulate matter in the air. These particles are the major component of the Air Quality Health Index during forest fires

More staff have mobilized to assist in fire control and recovery. A  team of four WBEA technicians head north today to service as many of air quality monitoring stations as possible (e.g., changing out inlet filters so that sensors don’t go down, because of high particulate loads), and also to scope out potential additional monitoring activities.

Melissa Pennell has been providing assistance to WBEA with communications, in order to ensure that everyone is kept as updated as possible.

In addition, Colin Cooke, Brian Jackson, and Sarah Hustins from the water team have gone north to do some initial water quality monitoring. The team will survey approximately 20+ of the standard oil sands monitoring sites, as well as doing general surveillance about where new monitoring should occur to assess risks or changes caused by the fire.

May 9, 2016

AEMERA staff and equipment loaded onto a Canadian Forces Hercules in order to establish more air monitoring stations in the region

Staff and equipment loaded onto a Canadian Forces Hercules in order to establish more air monitoring stations in the region

The Royal Canadian Air Force provided air support in order to establish more air quality monitoring stations in Fort McMurray – Marty Collins (Edmonton) is in Fort McMurray installing mobile particulate matter monitors. The data gathered is being shared with Alberta Health. In addition, Tim Armstrong (Lethbridge) is working with Forestry out of Slave Lake Forestry Warehouse. He has been reprograming radio equipment for the effort. Agnieszka Sztaba (Fort McMurray) has been working in the Emergency Operations Center; and Andrew Baird (Edmonton) left Edmonton Sunday morning and is acting as an Air Support Group Supervisor.

The following update was provided at 10:50am by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health:

A precautionary air quality advisory remains in the affect for all areas of the North Zone due to wildfires.

  • Fort Chipewyan: Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires is still impacting the community for the next 24 hours. A Special Air Quality Statement has been lifted by Environment Canada. For today and tomorrow, AQHI values are forecasted to lower to 2.
  • Fort McMurray: Smoke (particulate matter) concentrations have dropped significantly due to colder temperature and some showering this past weekend (< 20 ug/m3). A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 2 are forecasted for today and  tomorrow.
  • Five additional Particulate Matter monitors were installed in Fort McMurray*:
    1. Forestry warehouse (at/near the airport; EMSD E-BAM)
    2. Base of Operations (Keyano College; EMSD E-BAM)
    3. Clearwater Suite Hotel (downtown FMM; EMSD E-BAM)
    4. Macdonald Island: beside the rec centre close to the golf course (WBEA ‘e-sampler’ #E1)
    5. Fire Hall #1 (downtown FMM; WBEA ‘e-sampler’ #E2) *Due to limited server size, data from the 5 monitors cannot be made public at this time. For specific data requests, please contact EMSD-Info@gov.ab.ca
  • Over the weekend there were occasional one-hour readings higher than the one hour Particulate Matter guideline (>80 ug/m3). Currently no stations are reporting readings higher than 80 ug/m3 (most are below 50 ug/m3).
  • Fort McKay: Smoke (particulate matter) concentration are currently low. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 2 are forecasted for today and tomorrow.
  • Anzac: The AQ station is still offline due to power interruption since last Friday. WBEA technicians are not able to get to the station due to safety reasons. A special air quality statement remains in place and AQHI values of 2 are forecasted for today and tomorrow.
  • Weather conditions: Winds are still gusty in the north part of the Province, but it’s also been cold and showering off and on which can help with the fires and also tends to knock the smoke out of the air. It’s supposed to remain cool with some showers for the next three days and the wind is expected to die off tonight for most of the Province from Calgary North.

May 6, 2016

The Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (formerly AEMERA) would like to take a moment to acknowledge the situation unfolding in Fort McMurray this week.  Our thoughts and support go out to our partners, staff, and all those affected by the fires. The focus now is keeping everyone as updated as possible.

In the Fort McMurray region, two staff are working at the forestry emergency operations center and others are on standby – ready to deploy if and when needed. Other staff are currently on stand-by with ASERT (Alberta Support and Emergency Response Team) for emergency air monitoring assistance, but has not yet received action requests for additional air quality monitoring.

Important environmental monitoring continues during this situation – some Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) staff are working from the Environmental Monitoring and Science Division offices in order to continue WBEA operations.

Please visit the WBEA homepage (http://wbea.org) for a live video feed from their air quality monitoring station in the Timberlea area of Fort McMurray, as well as http://wbea.org/monitoring-stations-and-data/monitoring-stations for real-time air quality monitoring station data. You can also follow WBEA on Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates and information.

None of WBEA’s air quality monitoring equipment has been damaged at this point.

Please see the sidebar for more resources regarding air quality.