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Clean Air Spaces

Clean-air spaces are indoor community sites in Eeyou Istchee where people can go during episodes of heavy smoke caused by forest fires. The air that circulates in a clean air space is cleaner because each site is insulated against wildfire smoke and is set up with purifiers. 

Clean-air spaces offer people a breathing break during episodes of heavy smoke.

These spaces help reduce possible health effects of extended exposure to forest fire smoke.

Clean-air spaces help our communities be more resilient during the wildfire season. 

4 reasons why we need clean-air spaces

  1. Breathing difficulties may be more common during wildfire smoke episodes in our region.  
  2. Wildfire smoke is irritating to the windpipe and lungs. It can cause inflammation because your body is trying to get rid of smoke particles. People with asthma or other health conditions are especially sensitive to forest fire smoke.  
  3. Clean-air spaces offer people a safe and healthy indoor place to spend time together during episodes of heavy smoke. These spaces help reduce their exposure to smoke, which can in turn reduce its harmful health effects.  
  4. Clean-air spaces can reduce the risk of evacuation for some community members, which helps reduce stress during ongoing smoke episodes. 


Inside of a clean-air space

What does a clean-air space look like?

Clean-air spaces are set up in different locations depending on the community. It will look like any other gathering space, with tables and sofas, snacks and refreshments to make it enjoyable for people to spend time there.  

The space is prepared so that smoky air from the outside doesn’t filter inside. 

  • Ventilation systems are turned off. 

  • Vents, doors and windows are sealed from the inside or outside 

  • Fire exits are sealed from the outside so people can push through if needed. 

  • Ideally, only one entrance is used with double doors to help keep the smoke out. 

  • The space is equipped with portable air purifiers that remove harmful particles from the air. 

When should a clean-air space be opened?

  • Use the Purple Air Map to get community-based air quality readings.  

  • When the Canadian Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is above 10 on a one-hour average, it is recommended to open a clean-air space. 

  • Consult the Purple Air map for a 1-hour AQHI average

Where are there clean-air spaces in Eeyou Istchee?

Check with your community band and council to find out when its clean air space is open.


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