A gloomy Monday, September 14, in the Foothills has been punctuated by a thin layer of smoke that's drifted in from the west.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Dan Kulak says some of it likely originated in B.C., though most will have come from the fires raging in California, Oregon and Washington State.

"The smoke across western Canada is generally coming from the US west coast. It's been moving northward and then eastward across the southern part of Canada and the northern part of the United States. Indeed, a lot of the US is experiencing smoke as well as it drifts across the continent."

It's not the worst we've seen in the province, in fact, Kulak says those closer to the border will be feeling it much more.

"We do expect the air quality index to move upwards toward the five range, which is in the middle of our 1-10 scale. We do expect the worst of the conditions, generally, to remain along the US border and into the United States."

Municipalities in the area including Cardston County and the M.D. of Willow Creek are under a special air quality statement.

With the forecast showing only a 30 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, Kulak says we'll need some gusty winds to help dissipate it.

"We're not expecting a lot of precipitation in the next couple days to help clear off the smoke from the atmosphere. Generally, we're going to have to wait for the winds to shift, and we're looking for that wind shift to happen Tuesday evening across southern Alberta."

According to the Alberta Air Quality Health Index, we're likely to see the air quality peak at three on Monday, and five on Tuesday, September 15.


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