Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued an air quality advisory around three First Nation communities following a string of forest fires over the long weekend. The advisory, which includes Pikangikum First Nation, Poplar Hill First Nation and McDowell Lake First Nation, says that elevated levels of air pollution are expected from the excess smoke.

Three fires started on Saturday night near Pikangikum First Nation, including a 27 hectare fire that is said to be human-caused. The fire is northeast of Pikangikum, near the community’s dump site.

Fire crews and an air tanker helped to stop the spread of the large fire, and crews with the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are still working to calm the other active fires in the area.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says that people may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, headaches or shortness of breath and throat irritation. Children, seniors and residents with cardiovascular or lung disease are especially prone to the smoke.

The polluted conditions are expected throughout today and may continue into tomorrow. A restricted fire zone remains in effect across most of northwestern Ontario.

For more information:
Fire restrictions despite rain

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