Wildfire smoke causing pollution and reduced visibility in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and Ontario

Published June 5, 2023 at 1:13 pm

Department of Natural Resources and Renewables firefighter Kalen MacMullin of Sydney, N.S. works on a fire in Shelburne County, N.S. in a Thursday, June 1, 2023 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Communications Nova Scotia **MANDATORY CREDIT**

People in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and other parts of southern Ontario should note that smoke from forest fires is causing or is expected to cause poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Environment Canada says poor air quality with “moderate to high-risk air quality health index values” may persist throughout today (June 5) and possibly into Tuesday (June 6) for some areas.

“Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour,” Environment Canada says.

Wildfire smoke can be harmful to anyone, even at low concentrations. The risks are higher for older adults, children, pregnant women, people with lung and heart diseases and people who work outdoors. People concerned about poor air quality should speak with their doctor.

Environment Canada says mild irritation and discomfort are common amongst those exposed to smoke, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.

Drinking lots of water can help mitigate some harmful effects.

“If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the highest rated MERV filter for your system (ideally rated 13 or higher) and set the fan to recirculate air constantly. You can also use a portable High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner. Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable,” the weather agency said.

Those who must spend time outdoors can wear a respirator mask such as an N95 or equivalent to filter out smoke.

Residents are advised to avoid smoking or vaping, burning incense or candles, frying foods, using wood stoves or vacuuming outdoors.

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