Drifting smoke from Parry Sound wildfires expected to affect Kingston air quality
Kingstonians could be seeing some of the effects from the widfires in Parry Sound as drifting winds push smoke towards southeastern Ontario on Thursday, according to FireSmoke Canada.
The online portal, which provides forecasting information on Canadian wildland fires and the smoke they produce, warns that smoke levels in the Kingston region could reach 150-175 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter (µg/m³) at times.
PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5) is classified as fine, inhalable particles that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller. PM2.5 pose a particular concern as they generate the highest risk to health from smoke, says FireSmoke Canada. The Canadian government has set the following standards for exposure:
- 28 µg/m³ (daily average), and
- 10 µg/m³ (annual mean).
As of Thursday, the Parry Sound widfires had burned an estimated 11,000 hectares, producing heavy smoke which has been carried hundreds of kilometres away by strong winds. The strong smell of smoke is expected to be detectable throughout the region at times. Smoke particle density is expected to peak early Thursday afternoon and slowly dissipate into Thursday evening. Those with respiratory ailments are encouraged to remain indoors to avoid exposure to the lower air quality.