Forest fire smoke prompts Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa burn bans


Published June 7, 2023 at 4:37 pm

The intense smoke coming across Southern Ontario from the Quebec forest fires has led Whitby and Oshawa to institute total burn bans within their limits.

Both communities put announced the bans on Jun. 7, days into the record-setting fires in Quebec. There are currently around 150 fires burning in the province, according to Premier Francois Legault. They’ve caused smoke to billow across Ontario and into the United States.

The smoke has created the worst air quality Ontario has ever seen, prompting a warning to remain indoors and limit strenuous outdoor activity on Jun. 6. Environment Canada expects the smoke to linger at least until this weekend.

People with breathing concerns like asthma as well as those with heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke. However, wildfire smoke and the fine particles it contains can damage anyone’s health.

The air quality in Durham Region right now is moderate to high, allowing some outdoor activity. That said, Environment Canada warned, “Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour.”

As a result of the air quality, as well as dry conditions, much of Northern Durham instituted a burn ban earlier in the morning on Jun. 7. Whitby, Ajax and Oshawa followed suit later in the afternoon.


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