With over 50 wildfires burning in northern BC, Alberta and Northwest Territories, a large plume of smoke has landed in Estevan and surrounding communities. Environment Canada warns of potential health risks due to the smoke. 

According to the weather agency's special air quality statement, people who are more likely to be impacted include seniors, young children, pregnant women, people who work outdoors and anyone who has an existing illness or chronic conditions. Meteorologist Natalie Hasell outlines the symptoms to watch out for in terms of smoke exposure. "The typical ones that you'll see is headache, cough, production of mucus, nose, throat, eye and sinus irritation. Smoke exposure can become more serious. [It can] lead to anywhere from dizziness to severe coughs to asthma attacks, heart palpitations - there's all quite a few more symptoms. If it's particularly bad or a person is particularly susceptible, we could be talking about stroke or heart attack. So, as you can imagine, this becomes a true medical emergency."

Hasell noted that everyone can be affected by exposure to wildfire smoke. People with conditions like cancer, diabetes, lung and heart disease are at a higher risk due to their chronic condition. She added that smoke can be a stressor for someone's mental health, with the smog exacerbating the condition. 

"We might be at an air quality health index or a level where we don't have a special air quality statement in effect. But if you are sensitive, you're going to have to behave as though some kind of messaging is in effect, because you are already more sensitive," added Hasell. 

The hot weather that will be approaching the southeast adds a level of complexity with the smoke. Hasell advised to check in on people that may be more vulnerable to the risks. 

"If you know people who exercise outdoors, you might want to tell them that this isn't the time to do that, both for smoke and for heat. Be the good neighbor, checking on people. Pay attention to what's happening around you. Pay attention to how people are behaving. There's more stuff on heat available on our website. [It's] a very important time in the next while for people to pay very close attention to what's happening around them."

The smoke that's enveloped the southeast should be dissipating later tonight. Stay up-to-date with the latest on the smoke and heat in our weather page.