Forest Fire Smoke Impacting Southern Alberta Air Quality

The smoke from the wildfire in Lynch Creek created this vibrant but hazy sunset in Grand Forks, B.C. (Mark Windsor) - Courtesy of

Smoke from forest fires is blanketing the Prairies for the second time this growing season. This time, thick smoke from fires in British Columbia and Washington has traveled to southern Alberta where residents in this definitely-not-forested area are having to deal with extremely smokey skies. Personally, I cannot remember a time like this. It is hard to imagine how smokey it is closer to the actual fires.

This week the air quality in Calgary has been compared to Beijing, even with a spider creating havoc with one of the air quality sensor stations (yes true story!).

Outside of poor air quality and the smell that you are sitting next to a camp fire all day, the impact on the harvest is minimal, though there are questions about how it may impact crop maturity (especially corn). The human cost, however, is much greater.

After having family that was forced from their community in Slave Lake in 2011, forest fires are no laughing matter for the residents of those areas. I hope no more residents in B.C. and Washington are forced from their homes, and that the the fires will be extinguished as soon as possible. In the meantime, Southern Alberta you will just have to deal with smokey skies.

I found this tweet from spray plane pilot, Pat Stinnesson Friday morning:

Southern Alberta farmer Erica Sage tweeted this on Friday morning.  

The end of August is definitely bringing hopes of dry weather in the harvesting prairie provinces and all the chances of rain being pushed to fires in British Columbia and Washington.


Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4:30 PM est. @shaunhaney


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