More Canadian Wildfire Smoke Raises Respiratory Alert

Source: Asbury Park Press

Smoke spawned from wildfires burning across Canada was moving back into New Jersey today, causing air quality measures to crash across the state.

Air quality monitors from the federal government showed air quality was already unhealthy for people with sensitive health conditions at many locations in the state by 9 a.m., and was deteriorating quickly.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy and other state officials said, that conditions would worsen today and air quality could become unhealthy for most people. Officials are urging residents to monitor the situation and avoid outdoor actually where conditions are the worst.

In June, smoke from wildfires caused the worst air quality New Jersey has experienced in more than 40 years, sending hundreds to hospitals around the state with respiratory issues. But how can you find out exactly what is the air quality around the state?

The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (USDEP) operates, a live, interactive map of the nation’s air quality by zip code and smoke data.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) runs from 0 to 500, representing the degree of pollutants in the lower atmosphere.

0 to 50 (Green): Good. The air quality is satisfactory for all, and pollutants pose no risk.
51 to 100 (Yellow): Moderate. Air quality is acceptable. However, those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution may be at risk.
101 to 150 (Orange): Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Children, seniors, adults who are active outdoors for extended periods of time (such as laborers, performers, or for athletic/exercising purposes), and people with heart disease, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or diabetes may experience health effects.
151 to 200 (Red): Unhealthy/Health Alert. Members of sensitive groups could experience serious health effects; members of the general public could experience health effects.
201 to 300 (Purple): Very Unhealthy. The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.
301 to 500 (Dark Red): Hazardous. Health warning of emergency conditions; everyone can be affected.

Conditions in New Jersey are expected to begin improving tomorrow, Friday June 30.

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