Thanks to Alberta's proximity to the B.C. wildfires, this summer's 2018 season has managed to surpass its previous record for the amount of time this volume of forest fire smoke has been in the air.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Dan Kulak says, these "smoke hours" have a specific definition.

"Environment Canada has put together statistics for the amount of smoke hours in Alberta, which we have defined for this area as six mile visibility from the Calgary international airport, miles is something the aviation industry uses for aircraft operations and airplanning."

Kulak says, this year has managed to top our previous totals.

"As of of earlier this week Calgary had 316 (smoke volume) hours of these types of observations, which compares to previous years where we had 315 hours in total for the entire year. So right now, every hour we have of smoke in Calgary, is just adding to the new record total, looking from this perspective."

Statistics may appear to be troubling, as last years total was the previous record holder, with 2015 in third place.

Kulak says, before you draw any conclusions on Alberta's recent track record, there are a lot of variables to consider.

"Fire location, wind flow, temperatures, there's a ton of factors at play but I don't think we can make any long term predictions quite yet, however it is an interesting talking point, looking into future summer seasons."

On Tuesday August 21 it appeared that smoke volume and visibility has improved a little but Kulak says to be prepared for another round of smoke.

"When we get into the winds that we are going to be getting in the next day or so, coming more from the northwest, blowing that smoke into central and southern Alberta, we have some smoke today but it looks to be getting thicker for the next few days."

As for when things will improve, Kulak says it might take awhile.

"Its quite possible that depending on wind and weather patterns, that smoke could be a problem for the next month or so, depending on the amount of precipitation B.C. gets."


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