Ontario Wildfires Represent Health Risk to all Ontarians

Posted: June 30th, 2023

"I can smell the burnt wood in the air." a church member in the Southern Ontario region said. Smoke from forest fires in northeastern Ontario and Quebec has moved into the area, causing air quality to worsen. As a result, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday at 9pm emphasizing that low concentrations of wildfire smoke are harmful to everyone's health.

The statement goes on to say "People with lung or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant individuals, and outdoor workers are at a higher risk of experiencing health effects from the smoke. It is advised to consult with a healthcare provider to... ensure an ample supply of necessary medications at home and always carry these medications with you during wildfire season.

"If going outdoors is unavoidable, it is recommended to wear a well-fitted respirator mask like a NIOSH certified N95 or an equivalent type. These masks can help reduce exposure to the fine particles in the smoke. However, it's important to remember...[they] do not protect against the gases in wildfire smoke. Paying attention to your body and reducing or stopping activities if symptoms arise is vital.

As a church community, let's show Christ-like compassion and check on our vulnerable church members and others in our communities that may be at risk.

Let's stay informed, take necessary precautions, and support one another during these challenging times.

For the latest information about smoke and severe weather events, click the following link: Environment Canada