The smoke from Ontario and Quebec wildfires that has blanketed many parts of the province is not going anywhere soon.
David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada says most often the weather moves from west to east but a high-pressure area is forcing winds to blow from any direction.
“We have special air quality statements out for almost the whole province, from the North Shore of Lake Erie right through the Niagara region, the GTA out to Algonquin Park, Cottage Country right up through to Timmins. Looks like it’s going to be a situation that’s gonna go on for maybe three days if not longer,” he says.
Phillips says occasionally Ontario might see a little bit of rain, but it is not the kind of rain we need. He says we need a very heavy, solid, long-lasting rain that can seep through the ground and that’s not going to be the situation.
Phillips says Ontarians should expect more of this over the summer and early autumn. He says Environment Canada is calling for a warmer than normal summer. He says weather conditions we are seeing now could be a dress rehearsal or a dry run for what kind of a summer it’s going to be like.
Phillips says the fire season is just getting started. He says it used to be a July to August situation and has now spread to be more of a five-month situation from April to October.
“What’s different about this year? They’ve started early and they’re large. These fires are not small and it’s hard to put them out and it’s almost as if what puts them out is nature. You can’t put out these fires with a hose. It’s like spitting on a campfire and then that won’t douse the campfire,” he says.
Still, Phillips says it could be worse because the temperatures are low.
“They’re actually a little bit below normal for this time of the year and that has helped the situation. It’s helping the forest firefighters fight the flames, but it is a small comfort to the fact that the air quality is pretty high,” he says.
Phillips says it doesn’t matter whether you’re fit or athletic, young or elderly, everybody is going to be laboring under these kinds of conditions.