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As summer begins, it's important for us all to prepare for wildfire smoke. Wildfires produce thick smoke that can be a big source of poisonous air pollutants. This pollution contains gases and fine specks (not visible to the human eye) that enter our lungs and bloodstream, sometimes leading to serious health issues.  Smoke can carry hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the fire zone. There is no safe level of exposure for most of these pollutants. This means that smoke can damage your health even at very low levels. Air quality may go down even if you can't see or smell smoke. Everyone is at risk from wildfire smoke but especially small children, pregnant people, elderly people, people with existing lung or heart conditions and people involved in outdoor work or sports.

Please visit the following resources for additional information:

  1. Visit Canada.ca for resources such as our fact sheet Wildfire smoke 101: How to prepare for wildfire smoke, and our video Wildfire smoke and your health.
  2. Speak with a health care provider about making a plan for wildfire smoke events if you or your family are in at-risk groups.
  3. Learn how to use recirculation settings on your HVAC system to prevent smoke from entering your home.
  4. Buy a clean, good quality air filter (for example, HEPA filter) for your ventilation system or portable air purifier.
  5. Make sure you have at least one working carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
  6. If you can't keep the air clean inside your home during a wildfire smoke event, look for places in your community where you can find clean air. Libraries, shopping malls and community centres often have filters and air conditioning that make them safe places to take a break from the smoke.
  7. Download the WeatherCAN app, available on iOS and Android devices, to get free notifications about weather events, extreme heat and special air quality statements.
  8.  Learn how to use the air quality health index (AQHI) to check air quality conditions in your community.
  9.  If you are responsible for creating or managing community-based cleaner air spaces for wildfire smoke events, find advice and a checklist within the Cleaner Air Spaces Guidance.