Environmental monitoring in Fort McMurray – Air quality

How we're monitoring air quality in the Fort McMurray region following the wildfire.

Regional stations

The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) operates a network of permanent, continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations in the region, including at the following community stations:

  • Patricia McInnes (in Timberlea)
  • Athabasca Valley (downtown)
  • Anzac
  • Bertha Ganter (in Fort McKay)

Alberta's Environmental Monitoring and Science Program also monitors the air at several locations. These stations can be moved to various locations as needed.

Within Fort McMurray

Since evacuation, particulate matter, as a measure of the amount of smoke in air, has been monitored in a number of locations in Fort McMurray, including:

  • Provincial Courthouse (downtown)
  • Forestry warehouse (near the old airport)
  • Keyano College Industrial Campus
  • Fire Hall #1 (downtown)
  • MacDonald Island Park
  • Fort McMurray First Nation Health Centre
  • Abasand (near École Boréal)*
  • Beacon Hill*
  • Waterways*
  • Timberlea — Stone Creek*

*These new sites, closer to clean-up areas, allow us to better monitor for potential dust that may be stirred up.

Mobile monitoring lab

The Mobile Air Monitoring Lab (MAML) has also been used to monitor a variety of air quality pollutants most commonly associated with forest fires, including:

  • coarse and fine particulate matter
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • sulphur dioxide
  • ozone

The MAML was active following the evacuation and conducted daily monitoring of various neighbourhoods within the city during re-entry until June 9. The MAML can be redeployed to the area if air quality conditions worsen and additional monitoring is required.

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