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Hazy conditions in Ottawa as wildfire smoke blows across the capital

A haze blanketed the sky Monday in Ottawa as smoke from Quebec wildfires blew across the city

A special air quality statement is in effect for the region cautioning residents of the effects of wildfire smoke over the next couple of days.

"Smoke plumes from local forest fires as well as forest fires in Quebec have resulted in deteriorated air quality. Poor air quality will persist through the day today and possibly through Tuesday for some areas," Environment Canada says.

"Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour."

People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke, the weather agency says. 

As of 3 p.m. Monday, the condition at the Ottawa Airport was officially listed as "smoke" according to Environment Canada. 

Ottawa Public Health says when the air quality is low because of pollution, such as wildfire smoke, people should reduce time outdoors when outdoor air pollution levels are high. Avoid strenuous outdoor work, exercise, and playtime; stay indoors in a cool, well-ventilated place and plan indoor activities for children.

If you must be outside, try to schedule your activities early in the morning when pollution levels are lowest. 

If you experience symptoms such as tightness in your chest, wheezing, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention.

John Ciliberto and Mike Dore spend about 30 hours a week working outside painting, usually under clear sunny skies. But on Monday there was a change. 

"It’s a little different than it was yesterday for sure," said Ciliberto. "A lot more smoggier."

Dore adds, "Today is like a haze and you could see the smoke and feel it in your lungs."

Gatineau is under a smog warning. 

"The current situation is worrying," said Quebec public health director Luc Boileau in a news release, originally in French. "It requires paying attention to public notices and alerts regarding the presence of smoke or air quality. We recommend that the entire population follow the instructions in order to protect their health from the effects of smoke, especially for the most vulnerable people, i.e. those who suffer from lung or heart problems."

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says the smoky conditions will get worse over the next day or two.

"Sometimes the weather moves from west to east," said Phillips. "In this case, the smoke is coming down the Ottawa Valley. It's almost a fumigating situation. It doesn't seem too bad right now but overnight and tomorrow it really picks up." 


The forecast calls for a mainly cloudy evening with a 40 per cent chance of showers and the risk of a thunderstorm. Clouds should clear overnight, but widespread smoke is expected to linger. The low is 14 C.

Tuesday's forecast is mainly sunny with widespread smoke. Clouds move in by the afternoon bringing a 40 per cent chance of showers and the risk of a thunderstorm. High 21 C.

Wednesday's forecast is cloudy with a 40 per cent chance of showers and a high of 17 C.

It's not known when the wildfire smoke will clear out of the region. The smoke forecast on suggests smoky conditions could last into Wednesday afternoon.

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Jackie Perez. Top Stories


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