Smoke from northwestern Ontario’s forest fires is expected to cover the region today.

A tool that tracks the movement of smoke throughout Canada shows the region will be entirely covered by smoke by 12 p.m., with heavy, dark plumes of smoke expected to hit the Dryden and Kenora areas by 8 p.m.

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Environment Canada has already issued a Special Air Quality Statement for the Dryden area, and more advisories could come for the remainder of the region later this afternoon.

People with lung disease, heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people and people who work outdoors are all advised to stop or reduce their activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or they start to feel unwell.

Mild disruption and discomfort are ordinary and usually disappear when the smoke clears, and drinking lots of water will help. A well-fitted respirator mask can also assist those working outdoors, but will not completely eliminate smoke exposure.

Residents are asked to contact their healthcare provider or a local health authority if they develop severe symptoms from the smoke.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Service is reporting a total of 40 active forest fires in the region, and a Restricted Fire Zone remains in place.