Wildfires in other Canadian provinces are bringing smoke to the Westman Region.

A special air quality statement has been issued for the region and southern Manitoba as smoke from forest fires in British Columbia and Alberta has been pushed across the prairie provinces. 

John Paul Cragg, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), says the smoke returned Thursday morning.

"Over the next few days, because of the wind direction and because of all the smoke coming from mostly British Columbia, air quality could be an issue across Manitoba," Cragg explained.

Cragg says it shouldn't have a huge effect on those who are healthy but could severely affect the elderly, small children, and those with lung issues such as asthma.

"Strenuous activity should be avoided outside," Cragg warned.

Manitoba is also under a special weather statement due to the heat wave that is expected to remain throughout the week. Cragg says that these two weather incidents are separate, but one does help the other.

"An area of high pressure is moving across the prairie provinces and with that area of high pressure, it helps force the smoke from up higher to the ground," Cragg said. "It does help in creating worse air quality."

The smoke may help reduce daytime high temperatures, Cragg noted. Sunlight reflects off the smoke particles before it hits the ground and has a chance to heat up. It won't stop the heat wave but may stave off some of the extreme temperatures forecast over the weekend.

ECCC recommends limiting outdoor activities and to stop if breathing becomes difficult, reducing smoke exposure by staying indoors, turning off units that may draw smoke indoors, and keep inside air clean by avoiding smoking and burning other materials.

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