Wildfire smoke engulfs southwest ND, residents urged to avoid exposure
Intense wildfires in Canada blanket Western Edge in suffocating smoke as North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality caution limiting prolonged outdoor activities.
DICKINSON — Southwest North Dakota residents awoke on Wednesday to a dense shroud of smoke that hung in the air, so suffocatingly thick that it obscured visibility beyond a mere 100 yards and transformed the once familiar landscape into a surreal world of uncertainty and obscured horizons. The culprit of the smoke are the intense wildfires actively raging in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, propelled by the high altitude winds of the jet stream, carrying the smoke southward into North Dakota.
On Tuesday, the city of Calgary, Alberta's largest city, experienced a similar phenomenon as smoke from the wildfires descended upon the region and air pollution reached levels twice as high as what is considered hazardous, painting the sky with an ominous orange glow and emitting an acrid smell.
The full scale of the fires in Alberta and British Columbia is staggering, with as many as 150 active fires currently burning across these provinces alone. As the hazardous smoke continues to affect the southwest regions of North Dakota, it is crucial for residents to heed the advice of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality and limit their prolonged outdoor activities.
The particles of ash and soot in the air, known as particulate matter, have been steadily increasing across the state, prompting concerns for individuals with respiratory conditions, the elderly and young children.
The Department of Environmental Quality remains diligent in monitoring the air quality across the state through its sampling network, and it will provide timely updates as new information becomes available.
Residents are encouraged to stay informed about their local air quality conditions and seek immediate medical assistance if they experience adverse reactions to the smoke.
For comprehensive and up-to-date information on air quality in your area, as well as helpful respiratory protection tips, it is recommended that readers visit the Fire and Smoke Map website. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, residents can navigate these hazardous conditions and safeguard their well-being.