Heat and smoke don't mix well. For southeast Saskatchewan, both are present for today. 

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement for Estevan and surrounding communities due to over 50 wildfires reported in northern parts of BC and Alberta. 

Wildfire smoke map from firesmoke.ca, grabbed on July 8, 2024The northeast corner of British Columbia and northwest Alberta are reported to have over 50 active wildfires. Winds are picking up the smoke and carrying it to most parts of the province. (Courtesy: firesmoke.ca)

"Based on the model depictions that we have, things do look like they should improve. For today, it does look like it gets better for this evening. It does look like you could still have some hazy skies, but the smoke particulate concentration at the surface should improve," noted Natalie Hasell, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

The large plume of smoke enveloping the southeast poses several risks to residents of the area. With hot weather expected this week, she noted it doesn't make for a good situation for anyone. "It's a bit of a complicated situation having both smoke and heat, especially since the people who are vulnerable actually overlap quite a lot. It is particularly important for people to look for the symptoms 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 added. 

With an expected high of 34 degrees on the horizon and smoke making its way to the area. she noted the importance of checking in on people. "If you know people who fall under those categories of those who are more at risk, check in on them. 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. So, be the good neighbour checking on people. Pay attention to what's happening around you. Pay attention to how people are behaving."

You can keep an eye on the forecast on our weather page