Alberta Health Services is no longer recommending that children under the age of seven delay their return to Fort McMurray.
The province’s health authority has officially lifted the air quality advisory that was put in place on May 2 due to heavy smoke from the Horse River wildfire that eventually destroyed 10% of town.
The advisory had included a recommendation that young children and those with breathing or heart issues not return to the region until it was lifted. The concern was that children aged seven-and-under don’t have fully developed lungs, and conditions like asthma could be exacerbated by the smoke.
AHS says their data shows that Fort McMurray is no longer being “significantly impacted” by wildfire smoke.
The restoration of medical services at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre has also contributed to the lift on advising children and those with chronic illnesses to stay away. While it’s on a reduced basis, pediatric and in-patient psychiatric care have been restored along with the operating room and intensive care unit.
The hospital is expected to return to full functionality on June 21. Until that date, those who require dialysis, cancer treatment, and women who are more than 36 weeks pregnant or have a complicated pregnancy are advised to stay back.
A boil water advisory is still in effect for all areas of the RMWB except Grayling Terrace and the lower townsite. AHS says they will continue to lift the advisory in a phased approach.
Mayor Melissa Blake had said prior to June 1 that she would not be returning to live full-time with her family until the boil water was lifted, saying she couldn’t trust her young children not to “turn the tap on and take a big drink.”