Despite pregame concerns about Regina smokey air, the Labor Day Classic starts on time, according to CBC News

The CFL and Saskatchewan Roughriders kept an eye on the smoky air ahead of Sunday’s Labor Day Classic against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Mosaic Stadium, but the game still started on time.

Earlier on Sunday, the Roughriders posted on X – formerly known as Twitter – that the organisation, the Blue Bombers, the league and the players’ association are “continuously monitoring air quality at Mosaic Stadium throughout the afternoon using instruments within the stadium”.

“With the help of the strong southerly winds, the level has been falling steadily throughout the afternoon and is currently well below acceptable levels for playing football.”

The game started as planned, with an onside kick from the Riders starting it off.

Bad air quality

The city of Regina has a special air quality declaration from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as a cloud of smoke from wildfires continues to engulf most of southern and central Saskatchewan.

As of 4 p.m. CST Sunday, Environment and Climate Change Canada had Regina’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) at level 8 – which is considered high risk. That’s down from a 10+ AQHI at 2pm CST, which was considered very high risk.

Throughout Sunday, the AQHI fluctuated between high and very high risk.

This high level of smoke from forest fires could be harmful to everyone’s health. ECCC therefore recommends limiting time spent outdoors and any strenuous activity in particular.

According to the ECCC website, the AQHI is expected to drop to seven by Sunday night – which is still considered a high risk.

“It used to be smokier in Swift Current today and now it’s cleared up a bit. I won’t say it’s particularly beautiful there, but they’re doing better than before,” ECCC meteorologist Dan Fulton said shortly thereafter at noon on Sunday.

“So we assume that the situation in Regina could improve a bit towards the evening and then it might not be a bad night for the smoke. There will still be smoke, but not quite as bad as now.”

Two Royal Canadian Air Force training aircraft were scheduled to fly over Mosaic Stadium at 4:55 p.m. to honor the Canadian Forces.

On Thursday, the Royal Canadian Air Force said flybys are tightly controlled for public safety reasons and are dependent on weather and flight conditions.

Fulton said visibility at Regina was about four kilometers in the smoke on Sunday. He added that more smoke is expected to return to parts of the province on Monday after a planned small respite on Sunday night.

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