B.C. wildfire smoke made for some historically poor air quality in the Fort Saskatchewan area this summer.
The Fort Air Partnership (FAP) recently released its Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results for the third quarter of 2018. The FAP reports that seven monitoring stations in the Industrial Heartland area registered historic levels of high and very high risk readings in August.
“During this time period, 658 hours were recorded at the high risk level across the network and 74 hours in the very high risk level,” the FAP said in its report. “All high and very high risk AQHI occurrences were due to forest fire smoke, predominantly from wildfires burning in British Columbia.”
Overall, air quality remained largely low risk from July 1 to September 30, with low risk AQHI levels recorded at least 82 per cent of the time during the three-month period. Elk Island had the highest percentage of low risk readings and Fort Saskatchewan the lowest.
Risk to health increases as the index rises, with risk level categories ranging from low to very high. The provincial government calculates AQHI using data collected by the FAP.
Forest fire smoke caused notably lower air quality from August 7 to 26. From August 15-16 alone, FAP stations recorded 252 hours of high or very high risk air quality.
The FAP is a nonprofit organization formed in 1997 to monitor air quality within a 4,500 square kilometer airshed north and east of Edmonton. Its 10 continuous monitoring stations provide near real-time measurements 24 hours a day.