If you've ever wondered how fresh the air is here in Cochrane you can now track our air quality in real time. 

The Calgary Region Airshed Zone (CRAZ) has brought its portable air monitoring unit back into town and it's parked over in Mitford Park. 

It was first here for six months back in 2018-2019. 

CRAZ Executive Director, Jill Bloor says the unit has specialized equipment inside to monitor our air quality. 

"So what it is, is it's a portable ambient air monitoring lab, hence the name PAML. What it has, is inside of the back, it has analyzers that collect data on air quality."

Bloor says the unit has been here for a couple of months already and will stay here until the fall.

"It's been there now since the beginning of April, I believe April 8 and it will be there until the end of September."

This might have some wondering why our air quality is being monitored in town. 

Bloor says "There isn't a specific concern. What it does is this lab is able to generate the air quality health index. So that's a number on a scale of 1 to 10 where a low number, one to three is good air quality where everybody can go out and exercise vigorously."

She says a lot of people want or need to know the air quality before spending time outside exercising. 

"As that number increases due to influences like forest fires, smoke effect, that number would increase and those of the population who have respiratory issues or the really old or really young should be aware of that because if they want to go out and it's a day where it's eight or even a five then they probably don't want to go out and have a vigorous walk." 

Regularly updated reports on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) in Cochrane are now available online or through the free AQHI Canada phone app.

When visiting the CRAZ website you'll find AQHI ratings on the left-hand side left from Calgary. Airdrie and Cochrane. Click on the word "Cochrane" to obtain the local information.

The site also offers further information on air quality. The app recognizes your location and if you're in Cochrane immediately gives you the local index.

The portable unit has also spent time in Alderside and Canmore before coming back here to Cochrane. 

Once it is removed from Cochrane it will have collected data for a full calendar year in town.