At 4:00am on April 7, 2011, I woke up to smoke pouring through the vent in my bedroom. Was my building on fire? I stepped outside and saw firefighters in gas masks combating a black cloud less than a hundred paces away. When the stinging eyes and tight chest set in, we took our child and left our neighborhood for the night. Before biking to work in the morning, I made sure to check Alberta Environment’s “real time data” on Current Air Quality. All three monitoring stations in Edmonton showed a rating of “good” at all times throughout the night, including the station closest to my home and workplace. But when I rode out at 8:00am, I knew that I should not breathe hard that day.
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