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Canada Wildfires and US Air-Quality Alerts: Key Information You Need to Know

Since May, a number of air quality alerts have been issued due to the smoke's spread into the United States.

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Canada Wildfires and US Air-Quality Alerts: Hundreds of forest fires are raging in Canada, where a succession of intense wildfires have spread from western provinces to Quebec. Since May, a number of air quality alerts have been issued due to the smoke’s spread into the United States.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a poor air quality alert for New England on Tuesday, a day after similar alerts were issued for portions of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Officials from as far south as Maryland, Baltimore, Virginia, and Pennsylvania reported being affected by the wildfires last week.

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Here is a summary of what is being evaluated and some precautions that are suggested:

Canada Wildfires and US Air-Quality Alerts: WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Since last month, smoke from wildfires in Canada has been spreading into the United States. Recent flames near Quebec have been raging for at least a few days.

New England will likely experience hazy skies, reduced visibility, and the smell of smouldering wood for several days, according to the EPA.

“Fire smoke is a common occurrence in our location. According to Darren Austin, a meteorologist and senior air quality specialist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. This is very typical for northwest Canada. However, the smoke is typically carried aloft and has no effect on human health, he said.

Rhode Island is approximately 500 to 600 miles from the fires in Quebec, which are large and relatively near. Austin stated that they followed wildfires in Nova Scotia, which prompted a brief air quality alert on May 30.

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Several factors, including the detection of fine-particle pollution — also known as “PM 2.5” — which can irritate the lungs, activate air quality alerts.

Our upper airway contains defences that capture larger particles and prevent them from entering the lungs. Dr. David Hill, a Waterbury, Connecticut-based pulmonologist and member of the American Lung Association’s National Board of Directors, stated, “These are roughly the right size to get past those defences.” When these particles enter the respiratory space, they provoke an inflammatory response within the body.

Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist, explained that dry. Warm weather in the upper Midwest made it feasible for small particulates from Canadian wildfires to travel hundreds of miles and linger for days.

“It’s a good example of how complex the climate system is, but also how interconnected it is,” Ford said.

Exposure to high levels of fine particulate pollution can negatively impact the lungs and heart.

The air quality alerts caution “sensitive groups,” a broad category that includes children, the elderly, and persons with lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The lung association’s National Assistant Vice President, healthy air, Laura Kate Bender, stated that children who are encouraged to play outside are more susceptible to secondhand smoke for a variety of reasons. “Their lungs are still developing, so they breathe in more air per unit of body weight.”

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It is an appropriate time to postpone garden maintenance and outdoor exercise. Consider wearing a N95 respirator when you go outside to reduce your exposure to pollutants.

Close your doors, windows, and fireplaces to remain indoors. It is advised that you operate the air conditioner on the recirculation setting.

“If you have filters in your home’s HVAC system, make sure they are current and of high quality,” Hill advised. Some individuals, especially those with underlying lung disease or cardiovascular disease, should contemplate purchasing air purifiers for their homes.

Eric Joseph Gomes
Eric Joseph Gomes
Seasoned professional blog writer with a passion for delivering high-quality content that informs, educates, and engages readers.

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