WINNIPEG -- Environment Canada has issued multiple special air quality statements for much of southern Manitoba, saying smoke from wildfires is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.

The air quality statements came Monday evening. Environment Canada said several fires are burning, including northeast of Dauphin, near Lake St Martin, near Great Falls, the Whiteshell and near Glenboro.

"Localized areas of smoke are creating reduced visibilities and poor air quality down wind of fires," Environment Canada said in the statement.

"Wildfire smoke is a constantly changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health."

It said people living in or travelling to these areas should be aware of potential health concerns including sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.

Environment Canada is encouraging Manitobans in the affected areas to limit their outdoor physical activity, and should stop completely if breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable.

It says Manitobans should stay indoors in areas with clean air, and should turn off furnaces and air-conditioners that could bring the smoke inside. Environment Canada said people should avoid smoking or burning things inside.

Older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions are at a higher risk, Environment Canada said.

"People experiencing a COVID 19 infection may also be more sensitive to the effects of smoke," Environment Canada said in its statement, adding people experiencing homelessness or who work or exercise outside are also at risk.

The areas under the air quality statement as of Monday evening include:

  • Whiteshell - Lac du Bonnet – Pinawa
  • Arborg - Hecla - Fisher River - Gypsumville – Ashern
  • Bissett - Victoria Beach - Nopiming Provincial Park - Pine Falls
  • Brandon - Neepawa - Carberry – Treherne
  • Dauphin - Russell - Roblin – Winnipegosis
  • Dugald - Beausejour - Grand Beach
  • Grand Rapids – Waterhen
  • Selkirk - Gimli - Stonewall – Woodlands
  • Ste. Rose - McCreary - Alonsa – Gladstone