Haze Caused by Canadian Wildfires

Haze Caused by Canadian Wildfires

24 June 2010

published by kaaltv.com

USA — A haze fills the sky. It’s smoke coming from wildfires more than a thousand miles away in Canada. Now it’s affecting people right here in southeast Minnesota.

Marge Heaberlin can see for miles from her 14th floor apartment.

Thursday, things looked different.

“I didn’t know what it was because I keep seeing how the humidity is down to 47,” Heaberlin said.

She keeps an eye to the sky because she needs oxygen.

This haze makes it hard for her to breath.

“I was breathing good this morning and this afternoon it kept getting worse and I wondered why,” Heaberlin said.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency it’s due to wild fires burning in Canada.

“The smoke from those fires is trapped down and is really starting to setting in over Minnesota,” said MPCA Air Quality Specialist Cassie McMahon said.

But McMahon doesn’t expect the smoky scene to last long. She says it’ll be out of here by Friday afternoon.

“The smoke is a lot of fine particulate matter and we are seeing elevated levels of fine particles,” McMahon said.

So health officials are putting out a word of warning.

“For people with a little compromised respiratory status to begin with, that can be a significant trigger and lead them on to more inflammation and respiratory troubles,” said Olmsted Medical Center’s Dr. Richard Kvam.

Dr. Kvam suggests seeing a doctor if you’re having significant breathing problems and to just stay inside until it all clears away.

And that’s exactly what Heaberlin plans to do.

“I won’t be opening my window and I won’t be going outside for a while,” Heaberlin said.

The smoke is coming from fires in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.

Air quality experts say it’ll likely leave Minnesota and head into Wisconsin Friday.

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