Forest fire smoke blowing in from B.C. gave an eerie orange hue to Fort Saskatchewan skies Wednesday morning.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor, we have some overnight weather changes to thank for the alien-looking sunrise.
Hot, smoky wildfire emissions usually sit up high in the atmosphere, mixing around with air 5000 to 10,000 metres up, Proctor said. Last night the smoke began to sink lower as it moved over the Rockies, eventually surfacing locally.
"In this case, what the subsiding flow did is it brought some warmer temperatures into some communities but it's also allowed that smoke to surface and come down,” Proctor said.
B.C.’s burning forests are filling the air with tiny solid particles, sending local fine particulate matter readings into the 100 to 200 micrograms per cubic meter range, well above normal levels of around 10 to 20.
Anything above 70 to 80 can be problematic, Proctor said, especially for people with compromised respiratory systems.
"It's very fine and it tends to get down into people's lungs a little bit. So oftentimes people will have difficulty breathing, difficulty catching their breath, especially if they have compromised respiratory systems. It's also really a problem for the very young and very old."
Forest fire smoke is currently blanketing most of Alberta and an air quality advisory remains in effect for the Fort Saskatchewan area. Current forecasts show the smoke sticking around the province for about the next 72 hours. Some cooler temperatures on Saturday could bring some relief from the hazy air, at least for a while.