Wildfire smoke having an impact on Saskatoon events

Saskatoon residents woke up to a blanket of smoke covering the city on Friday.

With a wind shift coming out of the north, wildfire smoke drifted south past Prince Albert into Saskatoon and Regina.

Read more: Saskatchewan continues fire efforts as temperatures rise in the province

Lung Association of Saskatchewan Respiratory Educator, Jill Hubick said, “Smoke can affect all of our health but people with lung disease, in particular — those with asthma or COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — are at greater risk of serious health emergencies.”

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) took to social media to share some smoke safety knowledge.

They recommended, “everyone reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.”

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Leading by example, they also shared the cancellation of COVID-19 mobile clinics due to the risk of smoke inhalation.

In a Tweet Friday, the health authority said, “Due to the heat and the smoke in the air, we are cancelling the health bus vaccine clinic planned for George Ward Pool today (July 16) to keep our staff and patients safe.”

The skies should be clearing up Saturday evening according to Environment Canada, however, meteorologist Terri Lang said, “I think it’s going to be coming and going … but I think it’s always going to be with us at least for the next few days.”

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Lang said there should not be much air movement in our region so the smoke could linger in the city for a while.

“What happens in a big ridge of high pressure is the air is really stagnant so we don’t see a lot of movement of any kind of winds or anything like that so we often see an accumulation of not only the smoke but the other pollutants that build up in the atmosphere.”

Read more: Sum Theatre show in Saskatoon parks rescheduled due to heat

Sum Theatre is feeling the full effect of recent environmental shifts.

Their Theatre in the Park events were originally scheduled for the evening of July 14-16, however, with extreme heat warnings, the theatre group changed their time slots to 10 a.m. to avoid heat-related health concerns.

Before performers had a chance to bypass the heat Friday morning, their show was postponed once again due to excessive smoke in Saskatoon.

“A little bit of smoke, a little bit of hot weather is to be expected when we’re working with climate change so we’re going to have to do our best to keep everyone safe,” said Sum Theatre Artistic Director Joel Bernbaum.

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