Fires burning across northern Saskatchewan and other western provinces are creating smoky conditions.

Due to the smoke, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued special air quality statements for some northern areas including La Ronge, Cumberland House and Creighton.

Lyle Karasiuk, director of public affairs for Parkland Ambulance in Prince Albert said people with certain medical conditions like asthma or COPD are going to notice a difference.

“They’re going to find that hey, normally I can go for a walk, two three blocks and I don’t get short winded, now just walking down to the end of my drive way or across the street to have coffee with a neighbor, I am short of breath,” he said.

When it comes to dealing with the current air conditions, Karasiuk advises people to limit the amount of time they spend outside if possible. For people looking to or needing to do work outside, they are advised to work in spurts and take regular breaks.

Karasiuk added people looking for relief can also wear a mask, which will help make a difference.

“If you’re not wearing your mask, you’ll see a noticeable difference right away, wearing a simple mask that you’ve been wearing all through COVID,” he said.

Parkland Ambulance has been getting more calls related to people dealing with breathing issues. Karasiuk explained smoke is not the only issue, as the recent hot weather and the COVID-19 pandemic are also playing a role.

Karasiuk said people who have chronic breathing conditions who have used their medication and also rested and are not seeing their condition improve after 20 to 30 minutes should consider getting medical help.

Karasiuk added when the ambulance service trains people in basic first aid they emphasize what having shortness of breath means from a medical stand point.

“Shortness of breath is a true medical emergency,” he said.

(Photo Courtesy of Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Twitter)