Monday, June 17, 2024

Precautions To Take As Canadian Wildfires Cause Poor Air Quality Throughout The Midwest

Many residents across the Midwest woke up this morning to thick smoke and a gray haze blanketing the region from the Canadian wildfires that have been raging over the past three weeks.

There are still 492 active wildfires burning throughout Canada as of Monday, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. Of those, 259 are considered out of control and continue to spread smoke and soot particles into the atmosphere.

This means unhealthy levels of pollutants from the smoke has spread across parts of the Great Lakes Region surrounding Chicago, including most of Wisconsin and parts of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. 

Chicago was classified as the worst air quality in the world today by IQAir monitoring followed in a close second place by Detroit. Minneapolis also broke the top 10.

The air pollution from the wildfires is unhealthy for anyone but especially those in sensitive groups including people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, people with asthma and those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

Here’s what you should do during unhealthy air quality conditions:

  • Keep outdoor activities light and short. Consider exercising inside gyms or walking inside malls workouts.
  • Consider moving all activities indoors.
  • Go indoors if you have symptoms.
  • Wear a mask if spending long periods outdoors, such as N95

The smoky air and haze is expected to linger in the region Tuesday and overnight, but should be slowly pushed south and west and diminish into Wednesday evening.

This week is a big travel week across the US as Americans continue summer vacation season and others will be traveling to celebrate the July 4th holiday. Make sure to check the air quality in the regions that you are visiting and take the proper precautions.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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