Jeff Joseph from Bragg Creek west of Calgary shared this picture of a smoky sunset Wednesday night, 22 August 2018. Photo: Jeff Joseph

By Ryan Rumbolt   
23 August 2018

(Calgary Herald) – Just days after smashing the previous record for the number of smoky days in Calgary, Environment Canada issued another severe air quality warning for the city and many communities in southern Alberta.

Skies briefly cleared in the city before another advisory was issued on Wednesday. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Environment Canada rated Calgary’s air quality at 9, which is considered high risk. That’s expected to jump to 10+ this evening, meaning some people with heart and lung problems will be at risk and should stay indoors.

According to the air-quality monitoring smartphone application Sh**t! I Smoke, breathing the air in Calgary today will be roughly the equivalent of smoking about seven and a half cigarettes.

Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Carlsen says Calgary will be “back in the soup” until at least Friday as smoke from more than 550 raging wildfires in B.C. will reduce visibility and leave a lingering campfire smell across the city.

“That’s going to continue like that and it’s just going to get worse for the next 24 hours,” Carlsen said. “The smoke plumes coming out of B.C. are really large, really dense smoke.” […]

Carlsen, who is from B.C., says he has been tracking wildfires for years and is shocked by the level of smoke.

“This has been the smokiest summer in Calgary’s history … so that would speak to the fact that there’s been a lot more (fires) this year than have been observed since observation began.” [more]

Smoke risk rises in Calgary, no relief until Friday


Calgary's smokiest years, 1953-2018. With 322 hours of smoke in 2018, Calgary flew past the 2017 record of 315 hours. Graphic: YYC Weather Records

20 August 2018 (CBC News) – With 322 hours of smoke recorded in Calgary, 2018 is the smokiest year ever recorded in the city, according to one amateur weather sleuth.

Rolf Campbell is a computer scientist who developed software that pulls in Environment Canada data that he can use to create weather statistics.

His figures don't exactly match what Environment Canada has, but the agency says the numbers are very close.

Campbell said earlier Monday, this year was already the second smokiest year since Environment Canada started tracking the phenomena in 1953.

"I think this is still going to be an unusual year," said Campbell.

He doesn't think this represents a new normal and says there were several smoky years in the past.

"The late 1960s and early 1970s — I should say most of the 1970s — had high and consistent smoke every year," said Campbell.

This year's numbers are fuelled by hundreds of forest fires burning next door in British Columbia. It's the fourth worst year on record for fires in that province. [more]

322 hours of smoke makes 2018 Calgary's smokiest year on record

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