After a record-breaking summer in 2018, the wildfire smoke is back earlier than usual in Calgary this year.A smoky haze blanketed much of southern Alberta on Thursday morning as wildfires in northern Alberta continue to burn.Calgary’s air quality was ranked at 3, or low risk, on the Air Quality Health Index as of 7 a.m., but was expected to hit 6 or higher, or moderate risk, before the end of the day.
It was another forest fire enhanced sunset in Calgary on Wednesday August 22, 2018. Gavin Young/Postmedia
Gavin Young /
“The smoke is moving down from the north,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Dan Kulak.“There’s a lot of smoke moving into Edmonton area now that’s going to be moving southwards during the day into southern Alberta. There is smoke really across the entire Prairies.”Kulak said the effects of the wildfires could dissipate in southern Alberta later on Thursday, but that smoke was expected to linger for at least another four to five days.“Beyond that, you have to expect smoke in the area. I don’t see a big push in clearing this stuff out until probably early next week,” he said, noting a change in wind flow is expected early next week for the southern part of the province.
Animation on FireSmoke.ca shows the anticipated spread of smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta and B.C. from Wednesday to Friday.
Last summer, Calgary broke a record for the number of smoky hours within the city as wildfire smoke from B.C. blew east throughout much of August.“Every year’s got its own personality,” said Kulak, commenting on how unusual it is for smoke to fill the skies this early in the season.“It just depends on how many fires go,” he said.