Smoke from forest fires burning in the region has lead Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement for much of the region.

Smoky conditions will be seen in Kenora, Grassy Narrows, Whitedog, Sioux Lookout, Eastern Lac Seul, and the surrounding communities throughout the weekend, says Environment Canada.

Air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

The forest fire hazard in the region ranges from high to extreme and the ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to implement a Restricted Fire Zone in the Kenora, Fort Frances and Dryden Districts, and southern portions of Sioux Lookout and Red Lake Districts.

At this time, burning is illegal.

In most cases, this includes grass, debris, and campfires, even when using an outdoor fire grate, fireplace or fire pit. Portable gas stoves may still be used BUT must be handled with extreme care.

Fireworks are also banned.

It is a temporary measure put in place to prevent human-caused fires when the fire hazard is extreme or when firefighting resources are limited.