People in Portage la Prairie and Southern Manitoba are waking up to smokey conditions Sunday.

The cause?  A combination of strong northerly winds this weekend and forest fires burning in the Flin Flon, Cranberry Portage and The Pas areas. In fact the community of Cranberry Portage was evacuated last night due to the threat of the fires.

An air quality statement has been issued by Environment Canada stating a band of wildfire smoke is moving southwards through Manitoba and very poor air quality is to be expected, with conditions improving through the day. The gusty north wind is expected to be light by tonight.

weather statement here

smokeIt looked like an approaching thinderstorm in Cranberry but it was thick smoke causing the cloud

Here is some information from ECCC that might be useful in dealing with the smoky conditions: 

People respond differently to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears. Drinking lots of water can help your body cope with the smoke. 

 If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the highest rated MERV filter for your system (ideally rated 13 or higher) and set the fan to recirculate air constantly. You can also use a portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner.  

Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.  

Take a break from the smoke at a location in your community where you can find clean, cool air. If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. 

fire carThere was an eerie glow in the sky off the highway near Cranberry Portage Saturday evening


smokey skyA sunny Mothers Day was expected in Portage but the smoke that travelled South is putting a stop to that