A more normal hue covered Edmonton Friday morning, in stark contrast to the yellow and orange that blanketed the city Thursday, thanks to thick smoke from wildfires in northern Alberta.
Alberta wildfires: Evacuation alerts and orders in place across the province
A special air quality statement from Environment Canada was issued Wednesday and remains in effect for Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park.
Its Like The Apocalypse: Wildfire Smoke Blankets Alberta
“For central and southern regions, the thickest smoke is expected to move northwestwards today,” the statement read. “However, conditions may remain hazy into the weekend.”
The Air Quality Health Index for Edmonton was a 3, or low risk, as of 7 a.m. It is expected to rise to a 4, or moderate risk, on the 10-point scale later in the day.
Take a look at Albertas out-of-control wildfires from space (PHOTOS)
The index had spiked to 10+, or very high, Thursday afternoon after the thick smoke left eyes watering and Edmontonians covering their faces as they walked outside.
Wildfire smoke blankets Calgary to Red Deer, bringing very high-risk air quality
“Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air,” the statement read.
Here's an interesting look at the wildfire smoke in Edmonton from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) at the University of Alberta. The cameras record and store visual weather and river conditions every 15 minutes.#yeg #ABFire pic.twitter.com/8nYE7QoogC
Smoke from Canadian wildfires drifts into 5 U.S. states
Today: Overcast, with widespread smoke this morning and hazy this afternoon. High of 24 C, with a UV index of 3 or moderate.
Tomorrow: Sunny in the morning, becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. There is a risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. Hazy, with a high of 28 C and a UV index of 7. Low of 13 C.
Its no surprise the wildfires can be seen from space, as multiple blazes are currently burning throughout the province, with one measuring nearly as large as Edmonton and Calgary combined. Particulate matter from the fire has also made its way to Metro Vancouver, causing smoky skies.
Satellite imagery from outer space shows the powerful day-by-day spread of the raging wildfires in northern Alberta.
The images from NASA Worldview show plumes of smoke stretching almost the entire length of Alberta and spreading across the border into Saskatchewan.
A recent report, commissioned by Environment Canada, warned Canada is projected to warm at double the global rate, leading to increased "extreme fire weather." The scientific report stressed "the human factor is dominant" in the cause of climate change.
The images show the vast range of the fires. The largest blaze, which is raging near High Level, Alta., spread to over 2,300 square kilometres on Thursday, growing more than 800 square kilometres from the day before.
That fire is now more than three times the size of Edmonton. About 10,000 people have been forced from their homes, provincial officials confirmed. About half of the displaced residents are from High Level.
Fire officials say hot and dry conditions, combined with wind, will make the managing the fire difficult over the next two weeks.
Poor air quality triggers alert
The wildfires prompted a special-air statement for Edmonton, hundreds of kilometres south of the flames. Environment Canada warned residents that they may experience headaches, coughing, throat irritation or shortness of breath.
A separate fire near Slave Lake, Alta. triggered an eight-hour evacuation alert on Thursday. The towns mayor said the flames were about 30 kilometres from town, but officials wanted residents to be ready in case they needed to suddenly leave.
Wildfires in northern Alberta are seen on Wednesday, May 29 in this NASA Worldview image. (Source: Nasa Worldview)