Wildfire season is here, with a number of fires burning across the northern prairies. Some of the largest fires include one burning near Flin Flon, one near Fort Nelson, British Columbia, and one near Fort McMurray. Smoke from those fires made its way into the southeast corner of the province on Saturday, prompting the first air quality advisory of the year.  

“The smoke that actually affected the Weyburn area was more likely from the fires around Flin Flon and east-central Saskatchewan, just north of Hudson Bay and Nipawin,” said Stephen Berg. He is a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

While the smoke was cleared out by late Sunday morning, it was enough of an impact to bring back memories of last year, when it felt like every week would see an air quality advisory being issued. It also had many wondering what the rest of the week could look like with the fires that are currently burning.  

“The smoke looks like it’s kind of sifting through in this unsettled atmosphere for the next little while, so I can’t discount the possibility that there might be some lingering smoke that might get into the area during this week,” Berg added.  

One of the key factors as to how the smoke can impact the region is the prevailing winds. The winds in Weyburn tend to come from the northwest the majority of the time, at least at the higher levels. This carries the smoke aloft. How it impacts the region depends on the lower-level wind patterns.  

“You end up getting the smoke coming in through more northerly flows,” Berg explained. “What happened over the weekend was you had a pretty elongated cold front that draped over the southern prairies that was heading southward and southeastward.” 

When an air quality advisory is issued, Berg said the best thing to do is stay inside and limit time spent outside whenever possible, especially if you have an underlying health condition.  

“If you’re pregnant, or younger people and elderly people especially, are vulnerable to some health problems or complications if they inhale smoke-filled air.” 

Stay up to date with the latest forecast by visiting the Discover Weyburn Weather page.