Through the week of June 5th, Ottawa experienced a significant decline in air quality due to the devastating wildfires raging in Quebec and Ontario. The smoke from these fires created hazardous air conditions in our city. Individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma were advised to avoid going outside and Ottawa residents were encouraged to refrain from outdoor physical activity.
This photo is from the Glebe neighbourhood, Bank St at Holmwood. The smoke is from Tuesday June 6th.
Of course our thoughts turn to those many communities across the country being evacuated and struggling with the earliest, most intense wildfire season on record. With climate change creating hotter weather, we know that wildfires are only going to increase in severity. These recent events affecting Ottawa's air quality, highlight the fundamental importance of initiatives such as Breathe Easy as we work to proactively improve the air we breathe and build resilience against future challenges.
At Ecology Ottawa, we celebrated Clean Air Day on June 7th with the launch of Breathe Easy, despite the blanket of wildfire smoke hanging over the city. Now in its third year, Breathe Easy is Ottawa’s largest community-led science program. Over the course of the summer, our team of dedicated volunteers will use portable devices to monitor air quality at over 40 sites across the city. A further team of data analyst volunteers will help make the results accessible to the public. Armed with this information, individuals, organizations, and policymakers can make informed decisions to improve air quality in our city. We invite you to join us!