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Sault air now 'high risk' as wildfire smoke envelops city

Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities, says province
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The Sault's Air Quality Health Index has reached 7, making it 'high' risk according to the Ministry of the Environment. 

Wildfire smoke from northwestern Ontario continues to envelop the area, prompting health warnings from both federal and provincial agencies

Environment Canada and the Province of Ontario issued a special air quality statement earlier this afternoon.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has the following suggestions during high-risk periods:

At-Risk Population:

General Population:

  • Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

More from Algoma public health:

With active forest fires in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba, Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for parts of Algoma, including:

  • Agawa-Lake Superior Park
  • Sault Ste. Marie – St. Joseph Island
  • Searchmont – Montreal River Harbour – Batchewana Bay
  • Wawa – White River - Pukaskwa

Smoke plumes from these active fires may result in deteriorated air quality across these areas.

Algoma Public Health cautions residents that air pollution from wildfire smoke can be harmful to health and aggravate heart or lung conditions.

“Common, mild symptoms of smoke exposure include sore and watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, mild coughing, or headache,” says Nicole Lindahl from Algoma Public Health.  “People at higher risk may have more serious symptoms, like shortness of breath, severe wheezing or coughing, chest pain, or heart palpitations.  Anyone with these severe symptoms should seek prompt medical care.” 

Those most at risk are:

  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a heart or lung condition
  • Anyone doing strenuous exercise or work

Here are some other ways to reduce your risk during possible wildfire smoke exposure:

  • Limit or avoid outdoor activity and strenuous physical activities
  • At home and in vehicles, keep your windows closed and set the ventilation system to recirculate
  • If you have asthma, COPD, or other breathing problems use your medication as prescribed by your doctor, and seek medical care if needed
  • Note: wearing a cloth or medical mask helps prevent infection from COVID-19, but these masks do not provide protection from wildfire smoke

Learn more about wildfire smoke, air quality and your health. For air quality health visit and learn how reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels.