Half a dozen families have abandoned their homes in a northwestern Alberta community, blaming emissions from a nearby heavy oil production site.

"We probably should have left earlier than we did," said Erin Lebreque, whose family moved away from the Peace River area, 365 kilometres west of Fort McMurray, in October.

Lebreque believes a nearby bitumen extractor facility, operated by Baytex Energy Corp., caused the nausea and headaches his family had been experiencing for months.

Baytex did not agree to an interview, but said it's not drillling new wells until it completes its own air quality study.