NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - (July 17, 2023) - The Chief Environmental Health Officer is issuing Public Health Advisory for multiple communities due to bad air quality.
Due to wildfire smoke, multiple regions of the Northwest Territories are experiencing increased levels of fine particles in the air, known as PM2.5. The elevated levels of fine particles indicate adverse air quality in affected communities, and the situation poses a risk to the health of the community members.
Currently affected regions: Dehcho, South Slave, North Slave, Sahtu.
This wildfire season, multiple PurpleAir® monitors were installed in various NWT communities. The monitors provide on-time information on current air quality in communities. People can check the current levels on this website: https://map.purpleair.com/1/mPM25
The amount of smoke may change due to weather conditions and vary over short distances and from hour to hour.
Exposure to smoke is highest in people who are physically active outdoors (including outdoor workers). Exposure can quickly result in sore eyes, tears, cough, and runny nose. People at risk of more severe health impacts include young children and the elderly, people with diabetes, lung or heart conditions, and potentially pregnant women. Anyone experiencing serious symptoms such as wheezing, chest discomfort, or shortness of breath should visit their local health center.
You can reduce your exposure to smoke by avoiding strenuous outdoor activities and staying indoors with windows and doors closed.
People can also use portable air cleaners in small (single) rooms to help reduce the fine particulates and other smoke pollutants that may enter their homes from the outdoors. People should follow the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual for their portable air cleaners, e.g., change out / replacement of the filters or adsorbents for their unit.
People can check with the local authorities on accessing the community’s “clean air shelters.”
For more information on cleaner air spaces during wildfire smoke events, please go to the following website: Guidance for Cleaner Air Spaces during Wildfire Smoke.
Environment Canada monitors air quality and provides guidance for outdoor activities based on the Air Quality Health Index: Northwest Territories - Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) - Environment Canada (weather.gc.ca).
You can find additional information on the health effects of smoke at:
- GNWT Wildfire Smoke Information
- Air Quality | Health and Social Services (gov.nt.ca)
- Air Quality Self Assessment
- Air Quality Health Index - Canada.ca
- Weather Information - Environment Canada
For more information, contact:
Health and Social Services
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034