Environment Canada is warning of poor air quality in the capital as smoke from wildfires over Quebec again covered the skies, leading to the cancellation of outdoor events and the closure of many outdoor facilities.
Festivals across the city have either canceled or modified their schedules and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau have announced the closure of outdoor pools and beaches.
Weather Forecast Because the smoke spread throughout the day and night in the city.
air quality health index (AQHI) showed Ottawa’s air quality at 10+ ‘very high risk’ at 3 p.m., forecast to remain at that level through the evening. The general public is advised to reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities, especially if experiencing symptoms such as cough and throat irritation. Environment Canada suggests that children, the elderly and people at risk, such as those with chronic lung problems, heart disease or those who are pregnant, should also avoid any strenuous activities and physical exertion outdoors.
A special air quality statement for the city said the situation is expected to improve on Monday. A Haze Warning is in effect for Gatineau.
Wildfires have been burning in Quebec for several weeks, causing haze-like conditions in Ottawa throughout the month of June. Evacuation orders have recently been placed in small villages in northwestern Quebec near the Ontario border because of the fire threat.
Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center says there are 473 active fires burning nationwide, 242 of which are out of control. Three new incidents of fire were reported on Sunday alone.
About 7.2 million hectares or 72,000 square kilometers of forest have burned so far this year. For comparison, the province of New Brunswick has an area of approximately 73,000 square kilometres.
experts focus on climate change is creating conditions This caused wildfires to become more intense and widespread, resulting in smoke spreading over large areas. on the current forecast map firesmoke.ca This shows that smoke is affecting much of eastern Canada and significant parts of northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC, with some smoke reaching Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories.
City of Ottawa cancels outdoor events
The City of Ottawa canceled all city-run outdoor recreational events and leagues on Sunday and closed all wading pools and outdoor pools. All beaches in the city have been advised not to swim for the day.
Splash pads remain open and all indoor events are unaffected.
The city says playgrounds, ball diamonds and city parks will remain open, but where necessary, organizers can submit cancellation requests to the city through the inclement weather process to receive an account credit. All drop-in programs that operate outdoors will be moved indoors where possible.
Programming and facilities are expected to operate normally on Monday.
The city of Gatineau also announced the closure of its beaches and outdoor pools as of 3 p.m.
Racing at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival in Mooney Bay continued through Sunday morning, but was canceled at 11:40 p.m., according to a statement Sunday afternoon. Vendors were allowed to stay open till 3 p.m.
“We were one of the lucky teams, we managed to do two of our three races today,” said Corina Clothier. “Really hoping for 500 (metres) but really everyone’s health and safety is most important.”
A spokeswoman for the Ottawa Jazz Festival says Sunday’s schedule is going forward, but the festival will keep a close eye on the situation as the day progresses.
Executive producer Catherine O’Grady says they have been in contact with health officials throughout the day.
“Their advice is to avoid excessive activity throughout the day, so we’re keeping an eye on that,” O’Grady said.
“It doesn’t say don’t go out. But, if it says so, we have to think about it.”
O’Grady says the cast has been “playing comfortable” under these circumstances.
Escapade Music Festival extended its opening time to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, the festival said in a statement, adding that it is monitoring AQHI.
The Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival canceled its pow wow and other outdoor activities on Sunday.
“As much as I love this event, I love my community and we really need to do it to keep our elders and our artists and our community safe,” said Trina Mather-Simard, CEO of Indigenous-Experiences. A decision needs to be taken.”
Smoke billows at the Rideau Canal Locks in downtown Ottawa. June 25, 2023. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)
Triathlon canceled in Quebec
An Ironman event in Mont-Tremblant, Que. was cancelled Because of the smoke from the forest fires.
In a post on its website, Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant said it made the decision to cancel Sunday’s triathlon in consultation with provincial health officials.
“Ironman has strict safety standards for air quality that have not been met and the forecast does not indicate that the AQI will improve throughout the day,” the statement said. “Ensuring the safety of our participants, spectators, volunteers, staff and everyone else involved in the event is always our priority.”
Mont-Tremblant and much of southern Quebec is under a haze warning from Environment Canada, which warns of deteriorating air quality and poor visibility.
There are currently over 80 active wildfires in Quebec.
Frustrated triathletes gather under smoky skies in Mont-Tremblant, Que. On June 25, 2023. Ironman 70.3 race canceled due to poor air quality caused by northern wildfires. (courtesy image)
The evening and night forecast includes widespread smoke and an AQHI of 10+. The minimum is 18 C.
Monday’s forecast is for a smoky morning and an AQHI of 7 or high risk, dropping to a medium risk level of 4 by evening. The maximum temperature on Monday is 26°C and the humidex is 34°C. There is also a possibility of 15 to 25 mm of rain in the afternoon in the forecast, as well as a possibility of a storm.
On Tuesday, it will be cloudy, it will rain and the maximum temperature will be 25 degrees Celsius.
It may rain on Wednesday as well with a maximum of 22 degrees Celsius.
–Sean Worden and Natalie Van Rooy of CTV News Ottawa, with files from CTV News Montreal and The Canadian Press.