The hazy sky you are noticing today is the result of forest fires in western Canada.
That is according to Natalie Hasell, Meteorologist with Environment Canada. Hasell says there are fires burning out of control in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and even parts of Manitoba. She notes unfortunately the wind flow is such that the smoke from the fires is making its way into Manitoba.
If it seems early in the year to have hazy conditions, Hasell confirms that it is an early start. However, she notes there have been years where the forest fire season on the prairies started already in April.
Hasell says in southern Manitoba, most of the smoke is aloft, which is why you are probably not smelling smoke today. However, areas to the north already have a special air quality statement in effect, as concentrations at the surface are strong enough to cause concern. She notes there is a chance that in the next few days, the smoke will become more surface-based in the south.
Hasell says those who are more susceptible to smoke or poor air quality should be extra careful in these conditions. This includes the very old, the very young and anyone with chronic cardiovascular conditions. She adds some people might also become more susceptible as a result of the medication they are on. Others who might find these conditions more difficult include the homeless, pregnant women or those who work or exercise outdoors.
With little to no rain in the forecast this week in Saskatchewan and Alberta, Hasell says these hazy conditions are probably here to stay for the next while. In fact, she suggests that as the week progresses, we may start seeing special air quality statements for southern Manitoba as well.
The normal high for Steinbach this time of year is 21 degrees. Monday's forecast high is 29 degrees and Hasell says if not for the smoke, it might actually be hotter. However, she notes there is only a slim chance of Steinbach breaking a heat record this week. The forecast high on Wednesday is 30 degrees, which is still below the record high of 31.1 degrees for that day.
Meanwhile, Hasell says the forest fire situation could intensify in Manitoba as the week progresses. That is because Environment Canada is calling for next to no rain this week. Instead, it will be sunny and hot. Hasell notes Thursday and Friday could be a little cooler before things heat up again on the weekend.