Public health: wildfire smoke poses ‘serious’ air quality risk

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Public health officials are urging area residents to take precautions over the next two days due to the “serious” risk posed by wildfire smoke originating in Quebec and northeastern Ontario.

“The air quality forecast for our region is serious,” stated Dr. Matthew Tenenbaum, associate medical officer of health, in a June 28 press release.

“Our current air quality can cause very serious health complications – especially those who are at greatest risk.

“Please know the symptoms of smoke exposure, reduce your time outdoors wherever possible and check in on those around you who may be at greater risk.”

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) officials say the air quality health index for the region is forecasted to reach 10 (“high risk”) on Wednesday and Thursday due to the wildfires.

Environment Canada, which has also issued an air quality alert for the region, stated “conditions are expected to improve for some areas on Thursday night.”

This is the second time this month public health and Environment Canada have issued alerts for Wellington County due to the wildfires.

“The smoke contains small particles which can enter our lungs and bloodstream and cause serious health complications,” states the June 28 WDGPH release.

Air quality health index from WDGPH.


Officials say those at highest risk are small children, pregnant women, seniors, people with lung or heart conditions and people involved in strenuous outdoor work or sports.

Public health states people should “watch carefully for the following symptoms of smoke exposure … and seek medical care when necessary.

“Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing is uncomfortable or you are feeling unwell.”

Residents are encouraged to spend time indoors while the risk is highest, and to keep windows and doors closed if the temperature is comfortable.

When not at home, residents can access indoor spaces such as libraries, community centres or malls.

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