Wildfires are often large, and can sometimes lead to widespread impacts on the land, and on the well-being of the population. The main health effects of wildfires are respiratory illnesses (especially among children, the elderly, individuals suffering from pre-existing illnesses, and smokers) and poor mental health (which can range from temporary disturbances to severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder).
When smoke in the air becomes too much to handle, the following are some recommendations on how to lessen the effects:
People with heart or lung disease, the elderly, children, and pregnant woman should be aware of the effects that wildfire smoke may present. The following are activities that should be considered to protect themselves:
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. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.
For additional Information on masking: Face Masks for Wildfire Smoke
Download, print and share Wildfire Smoke 101 factsheets:
If your community is at immediate risk from air pollution caused by dense wildfire smoke, Environment and Climate Change Canada will issue an air quality alert.
Learn more about wildfire smoke events, the effects of wildfire smoke on your health, and how to protect yourself at Government of Canada.
If you experience any feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, contact your mental health care provider for advice or visit https://www.wellnesstogether.ca/en-CA.
Visit www.firesmoke.ca to see smoke forecasts for your area.