Widespread smoke engulfs the region, air quality advisories in place

Canada surpassed the record for area burned by wildfires in a single year on Monday

Files from The Canadian Press

Smoke from forest fires in northeastern Ontario and Quebec is being pushed toward the area, creating high levels of air pollution.

Environment Canada has issued an air quality advisory for a swath of central Ontario including Barrie, Orillia, Simcoe County, Parry Sound Muskoka, as well as Grey, Dufferin and Haliburton.

Air quality is expected to linger through Wednesday.

“Conditions are expected to improve for some areas on Thursday,” Environment Canada said in its weather statement. “Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. Everyone can take action to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke.”

Of particular concern, according to the weather agency, are individuals with lung disease or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors, as they are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

Environment Canada says people should stop or reduce their level of activity if breathing becomes uncomfortable or if someone in their care feels unwell.

The weather agency says drinking lots of water can help your body cope with the smoke.

Canada surpassed the record for area burned by wildfires in a single year Monday as hundreds of fires continued to blaze in almost every province and territory.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reported Monday afternoon that 76,129 square kilometres of forest and other land have burned since Jan. 1. That exceeds the previous record set in 1989 of 75,596 square kilometres, according to the National Forestry Database.

For more details, consult www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html.