Red Deer sees smokiest year ever with more on the way

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
August 21, 2018 - 1:22pm Updated: August 22, 2018 - 6:05am

Central Alberta las seen a lot of smoke over the last several months, especially last week leading to sore throats and several event cancellations.

Red Deer has set a new record for total smoke hours in a year, according to Environment Canada who records these figures between May 1 and September 30 annually.

As of noon Monday, Aug. 20, there were 228 smoke hours at the Red Deer Airport. The old record was 198 set last year, and the next highest total is 87 which was seen in 1956. The normal is just 10.

“A ‘smoke hour’ is when we observe at the airport six miles in visibility in smoke or less,” explains Dan Kulak, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “An observation of six miles, whether it be snow, rain or fog, is something where the aviation industry takes notice.”

Though Red Deer has enjoyed a couple smoke-free days to start the week, the smoke from wildfires in BC will push in again beginning Wednesday, according to Kulak.

“It depends totally on weather conditions and fires in BC are very much in place right now,” he says. “It’s going to take a significant change in the weather to curtail the amount of smoke and fire activity going on.”

Of course, there's still another 40 days to pad that record. Close to 600 fires are currently burning in our neighbouring province.

Some rainfall is expected in part of British Columbia this weekend.

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