Canada fires causing health concerns in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Hundreds of fires burning across western Canada are causing health concerns here in Colorado.

The fires started in Alberta in April and have been spreading throughout British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

In Alberta alone, more than 1,000 fires have burned more than 740,000 acres.

Right now, nearly 2,000 firefighters are working to control the flames and more crews are sent in every week.

A health warning has been issued for the Denver area and its surrounding communities due to the smoke.

We spoke to several families in Colorado Springs today and they say they’ve definitely noticed the haze but were surprised to hear it’s causing health issues from thousands of miles away.

“Since it’s been rainy I just thought we were having gloomy weather,” Greta Morath said.

“We went up in the mountains and really noticed it there and just thought maybe it was a weather front coming through,” Ryan Showman said.

“It’s definitely very hazy. It’s kind of a burning odor,” Danielle Daigle-Chavez said.

The smoky sky may not seem like a big deal to most, but it could be negatively affecting your health more than you think.

“When something’s really far away it’s kind of hard to see that immediate effect but obviously you don’t want gunk in the air,” Morath said.

“We’ve actually had to take allergy medicine because we wake up and we can’t stop sneezing so there’s definitely a lot of allergens and pollutants that aren’t normally present,” Daigle-Chavez said.

And that change in the air quality is concerning many families.

“We have a lot of allergies in the family, things like that. We have some air purifiers at home that we’ve started to use and at night since it’s also been a little cooler we’ve been closing the windows,” Daigle-Chavez said.

“It’s really important to have clean, pure air and you definitely feel that difference,” Morath said.

Health officials said the debris in the air is especially dangerous to people with lung disease, the elderly, young kids, and people that are active outdoors.

They said the best option is for those at risk to stay inside, and if you get dizzy or light-headed, see a doctor immediately.

Unfortunately, we could be dealing with this smoke for awhile.

Fire crews said, depending on the weather, the out-of-control flames could continue to burn until fall.

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