Hottest day, poor air quality for Calgary’s summer
Smoky air across Canada from fires in B.C.
By Nathan Woolridge, News Editor
MRU community members living in Calgary may already be aware, but for those returning to the city, you missed out on a summer marked by warm weather and poor air quality.
On Aug. 10, 2018 Environment Canada reported that Calgary reached its hottest temperature of all-time at 36.4 C.
The previous hottest day was 36.1, which was recorded twice historically: July 15, 1919 and July 25, 1933.
The month of August also saw Calgary suffer through poor air quality warnings primarily due to forest fires burning in British Columbia.
The forest fires brought up a lot of discussion about climate change. The World Health Organization (WHO) states on their website that climate change affects the “determinants of health,” including clean air.
WHO also stresses that climate change has serious impacts on extreme heat and is contributing to an increased frequency of natural disasters. The WHO reports that the number of natural disasters has tripled since the 1960s.
The Government of Canada issued multiple warnings in August for poor air quality. Their statement on Aug. 23 stated, “Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring. Thick smoke continues across regions of southern and central Alberta.”
The government’s statement also warned that “Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk. Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties.”
As of a report on Aug. 22 there were 531 fires burning in B.C. with 246 considered out of control. B.C. declared a state of emergency and brought in firefighters from Quebec, Ontario, Australia, Mexico, and more places to help. Alberta remained cautious with several fire bans.