Kananaskis fires spark health advisory

 Kananaskis fires spark health advisory

24 September 2009

published by www.cbc.ca

Canada — Health officials have issued an advisory to residents of Calgary and other communities about smoke from a forest fire deliberately set in the Kananaskis.

Provincial and Parks Canada staff are conducting prescribed burns near Mount Nestor in Spray Valley Provincial Park, about 20 kilometres from Canmore.

On Thursday, Alberta Health Services issued a three-day health advisory about the smoke for Banff, Bragg Creek, Calgary, Canmore, and Springbank.

The advisory is especially aimed at “sensitive groups,” including children, pregnant women and adults with heart and lung problems.

“Although prescribed burns ensure smoke is managed more effectively than wildfires, weather and wind conditions have increased the likelihood that smoke from the Mt. Nestor burn could continue to impact the surrounding communities, most noticeably in the early morning and late evening hours,” the provincial health authority said in a news release.

Smoke can cause coughing, a scratchy throat, stinging eyes, runny nose, headache, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Provincial wildlife officials said that during the controlled burn, efforts would be made to minimize the impact of the smoke.

“This operation simulates the historic role of fire on the landscape: reducing the threat of wildfires to communities within the lower Bow Valley and surrounding area, improving wildlife habitat and removing a pocket of prime mountain pine beetle habitat,” wildlife officials said in a news release.

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