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'This isn’t a campfire': Londoners urged to take caution amidst smoky air

Smoke from wildfires in Quebec and Northern Ontario is finding its way into the region.

While the London, Ont. area has escaped the extreme haze seen over parts of Eastern Ontario, a special air quality advisory is in effect.

Anyone looking up Tuesday evening could see why.

CTV News London showed some visitors to Springbank Park images from the station’s tower camera. It depicts a deep haze over parts of London Tuesday night.

Lori Edward’s caught the effect with her own eyes, and is why she postponed her walk through the park until morning.

Londoner Lori Edwards is seen in London, Ont.'s Springbank Park on June 7, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London) “I could see coming down Snake Hill,” she said. “I could see a haze beyond.”

Edwards, who battles breathing challenges, was relieved the haze was gone by morning. The air quality index has also improved.

“Right now, I’m not really feeling it. But, they say there is more to come,” she said.

She’s not wrong.

“Smoke floats, so it is coming our way down here in London,” said Dr. Joanne Kearon, a public health physician with the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

But while it is coming, possibly to stay for several days, Kearon said it is still okay to venture outside.

“Do not change your activities. Continue with outdoor activities. Really, only if you are experiencing symptoms, such as coughing or shortness of breath consider going indoors,” she said.

Dr. Joanne Kearon is a public health physician with the Middlesex-London Health Unit in London, Ont. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

Although conditions could change quickly, Kearon said even those with respiratory problems are safe to take a stroll.

Still, unlike a campfire, she reminds everyone it is impossible to avoid the smoke. So, if you do feel unwell, go inside.

“With a campfire, it can be quite concentrated and you simply have the option of moving to the side,” she explained. “But now you can’t because the wildfires are burning everywhere you go.”

Back at the park, everyone is trying to stay one step ahead of the smoky haze.

“I’m just training for the women’s run that is coming up this weekend. But it is a bit hazy for sure,” said Steph Pace as she finished a circuit at Springbank Park. 

A darkened sky is seen in this view towards Ottawa in June 2023. The city is at the maximum advisory for poor air quality amidst ongoing fires in Quebec and Northern Ontario. (CTV News Ottawa)

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