Many people in Saskatchewan are breathing a little easier Friday with winds providing some relief from wildfire smoke coming from British Columbia.
The heavy smoke cleared out of the province overnight Thursday, but Environment Canada stated the reprieve will be short lived.
“We’re looking at northwesterly to westerly winds right on the through the weekend. Certainly that’s going to be bad wind direction for us for the … foreseeable future,” said meteorologist Mike McDonald.
McDonald said as the winds shift Friday afternoon the smoke will pour back in leaving the province under a thick blanket of haze, which will linger through the weekend.
“The sun will be blocked out for the most part. You’ll see brilliant sunsets and sunrises and an orange glow to the sun during the day.”
Climatologist David Phillips said the smoke settling in Saskatchewan for this long isn’t just unusual, it’s off the charts.
“Last week, I think I counted 100 hours of smoke in the Saskatoon area,” he said. “You can maybe count the number of smoke days in an average year on one hand and (Saskatoon) has already had seven or eight in August.”
Southern Saskatchewan, from Prince Albert to the U.S. border, remain under an air quality statement. McDonald said the index, which measures air pollution, will rise to a five or six in both Saskatoon and Regina Saturday.
Environment Canada said while the risk level will be moderate, people with breathing problems should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if experiencing symptoms.