Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heavy Smoke in Calgary's South End

Update: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9
The Tsuu T’ina has put a clay cap over most of the burning rubble, which should help minimize most of the smoke.

Currently, the Tsuu T’ina fire department and construction equipment, such as excavators and Cats are on-scene. They have bore holes in the ground to flood the fire from underneath and they have found this technique effective.

Alberta Health Services has reaffirmed its Precautionary Fire Smoke Advisory for the Calgary Area

Update: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, February 9
Alberta Health Services is looking after public health and working with the School Boards and the South Calgary Hospital to address any issues. Questions regarding adverse symptoms or reactions can be directed to AHS through their Healthlink 403.943.LINK (5465). Medical emergencies should be directed to

Alberta Environment is conducting air quality testing in the affected areas with its Mobile Air Monitoring Lab (MAML) and will provide those reading to Alberta Health Services. You can find out what these readings are by visiting, click on Air Quality Health Index (in Quick Links) or by calling 1-877-247-7333.

As the fire incident on the Tsuu T’ina Reserve is being handled by the Tsuu T’ina Fire Service and whomever they choose to engage as resources, the Calgary Fire Department's primary responsibility is the safety of Calgarians and ensuring that we have the necessary resources in place to tend to incidents within the City's jurisdiction.

Tsuu T'ina land is outside of the City's jurisdiction therefore we do not automatically provide support. However, any jurisdiction, including the Tsuu T'ina are welcome to request assistance from the City at their own cost and not of that of City of Calgary taxpayers. If we do get a request from the Tsuu T’ina or another level of government to assist in an additional capacity, we will respond accordingly.

Update: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 8
Alberta Health Services has issued a precautionary fire smoke advisory for the Calgary area to remain in effect until further notice.

Although minor smoke conditions do not typically cause health concerns in most healthy individuals, if smoke conditions become more severe, even healthy individuals may experience irritation of eyes, throat and possibly shortness of breath. All residents and visitors to the area are advised to monitor their own health and adapt their activities as necessary.

If you can taste and/or smell smoke in the air:
  •  Be aware of your symptoms. 
  •  Reduce levels of physical activity as necessary. 
  • Consider sheltering indoors with windows closed. 
Individuals with respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma, and individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions such as angina, previous heart attack and congestive heart failure, may be more likely to notice a worsening of their symptoms. These individuals are advised to take the precaution their physicians have previously recommended when experiencing worsening of symptoms.

Individuals experiencing symptoms can also call Health Link Alberta 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 403.943.LINK (5465), to speak to a registered nurse.

Current air quality and the Air Quality Index (AQI) can be accessed at Alberta Environment's website at, click on Current Air Quality (Quick Links) or by calling 1-877-247-7333.

Update: 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 8
A media availability was held at the Tsuu T'ina administration building today at noon and Administrator Kevin Littlelight provided the following information:
  • Organic waste from a contracted Calgary business set fire roughly one day ago.
  • The Class 3 landfill that mostly includes wood and construction materials (no toxic materials) was well prepared for the fire, though it was not anticipated.
  • They expect the fire to be out in 48 hours.
  • They are working closely with Alberta Environment.

Update: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 8
Smoke from an incident on the Tsuu T'ina reserve continues to blanket the south end of the city. The smoke is moving east and the communities of Somerset, Evergreen and Bridlewood are primarily affected.

The Calgary Fire Department is currently in those areas with its air monitoring unit to take air quality readings. CFD will be providing these readings to Alberta Health Services and will receive support from Alberta Environment for additional monitoring.

Currently, the Calgary Fire Department is not responding to the incident, as it is out of the City's jurisdiction and there has been no request for additional support.

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