Most of Saskatchewan is going to be dealing with smoky conditions on top of extreme heat this week.
Environment Canada issued heat warnings for most of the province, including Regina and Saskatoon.
It is a part of a prolonged heat wave with daytime highs in the 30s. Temperatures will moderate somewhat through the course of the weekend.
Overnight temperatures will also remain high during this period.
Wildfire smoke from Alberta and BC is travelling along the jet stream and settling over the province, pushed down by a strong ridge of high pressure in the area.
Environment Canada issued special air quality statements Wednesday morning for most regions in Saskatchewan, except for the southwest corner around Swift Current — which remained under a heat warning.
“The smoke will sort of ebb and flow as things go, but it looks like it’s going to be sticking with us,” meteorologist Terri Lang said.
She said the “extremely stable” atmosphere bringing in a heat wave with expected temperatures around 38 C on Friday will also keep smoke in the air.
“It tends to trap all of the smoke and heat underneath it,” she said.
The air quality statement warns people could experience symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath due to the smoke.
It advises people with lung diseases could experience more serious health effects as well.
Lang noted the combination of heat and smoke could be dangerous for those with health issues.
“Everybody should be taking precautions during this heat,” she said.
“They should be avoiding the heat of the day, drinking as much as they can and seeking cool places when they are able to.”
The smoke is expected to clear, along with some of the heat, on Saturday.
Sask. doctor gives tips on staying safe in the heat
With temperatures set to soar into the mid-thirties this week, and even approaching 40C, things can get dangerous.
Medical health officer Maurice Hennink with the Saskatchewan Health Authority said heat can be a problem for children, the elderly and people with medical conditions.
When it comes to kids and the elderly, Hennink said to listen for complaints about being too hot and watch for changes in mood or behaviour.
“They may suddenly (have) temper tantrums, (be) sleepy, or just very difficult. If they complain about being dizzy or just listless, be careful of that.”
If someone does succumb to heat stress, Hennink said it’s important to get somewhere cool. While an air-conditioned home would probably be ideal, he said there are often other options if someone needs a spot to cool down.
“That could be in a library, a mall, or in a neighbour’s home.”
Once the person is in a cooler environment, Hennink suggested giving them water or fruit juice. He also recommended cool treats with a high water content like watermelon or cucumber.
The hottest part of the day is usually early to mid-afternoon, and Hennink said when it’s extremely hot outside like this, it’s best to stay indoors during those hot hours.
“The spray pads are certainly popular areas, but later in the day is probably better to do that, late afternoon – five, six in the afternoon – when the most heat of the day is starting to dissipate.”
And, of course, Hennink stressed never to leave kids and pets in cars.
“Never, never, leave your children and your pets in a parked vehicle in the sort of the heat, that’s absolutely not to do.”
The hottest days of this week for Regina and Saskatoon are forecast to be on Friday and Saturday, with Environment Canada predicting temperatures will get closer to normal by next week.
—With files from 980 CJME’s Lisa Schick