The numbers back up the notion that it's been the smokiest year we've experienced in southern Saskatchewan.

There have been a record-setting 221 smoke hours this wildfire season, as of 12 a.m. Tuesday, in Regina (the nearest centre to Estevan that Environment Canada can track smoke hours).

Smoke hours require visibility to dip below 9.7 kilometres.

The previous records were 184 in 2021 and 173 in 2015. The statistic has been logged since 1953.

Saskatoon has had 282 smoke hours this year, while Calgary has had more than 460.

"That goes along with the fact that the amount of forest burned this year is higher than in any other year measured," said Environment Canada Meteorologist Terri Lang.

That number is expected to continue climbing for months.

"I don't think we're going to be in the clear until the snow flies," said Lang. "I think there's going to be smoke around for the next at least couple months because the fires are still very active, and there's nothing to put them out."

Air Quality Health Index ratings of 10+, or very high risk, have been observed on both Monday and Tuesday this week.

Lang said it's wise to mitigate the time you spend outside when the AQHI registers anywhere on the high end of the spectrum.

"Even a healthy individual shouldn't be exposing themselves to the smoke when AQHI is 7 or higher, and should be staying indoors as much as possible."

The smoke is expected to lessen on Tuesday and into Wednesday, but return shortly after.

"It's going to ebb and flow, which is very common for it to move around and it has to do with the upper atmosphere dynamics and the lower atmosphere dynamics," said Lang. "Smoke forecasting is really, really complicated, but it looks like there'll be some reprieve. As it pushes more to the south, but in the next day or two it's going to swirl back around and come back in from the south actually and move back in and probably be around for another couple days after that."

You can find more weather information by following this link.

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