Northwestern Ontario fires prompt air quality alert in southwest

Smoke over a forest during a wildfire is seen in this file photo. (Source: Getty Images)

A special air quality statement has been issued by Environment Canada for much of southwestern Ontario due to smoke from wildfires in the northwest of the province.

The alert is in effect from Windsor, through the London region to Toronto and all the way to Ottawa in the east.

Officials say smoke from active forest fires is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility, while high levels of air pollution are possible.

Environment Canada says higher particulate matter levels and hazy conditions have been reported at several stations and reduced visibilities and deteriorating air quality are possible if the smoke descends to ground level.

A cold front moving in on Tuesday is expected to make conditions better.

Many chemicals in wildfire smoke can be harmful. More details are available here.

Symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath are possible.