Canadian fires continue to cause reduced air quality

Smoke from wildfires in Nova Scotia, captured by a NASA astronaut last week. —Courtesy NASA

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality advisory Wednesday, prompted by a number of uncontrolled wildfires throughout Canada.

“Due to smoke from Canadian wildfires that continue to influence our area, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is issuing a statewide air quality alert effective until midnight, June 7, 2023,” the statement says. “Smoke is expected to enter western sections of the state and impact air quality through much of the state today. Air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, such as asthma; older adults, children, teenagers; and people who are active outdoors. People with either lung disease or heart disease are at greater risk from exposure to ozone.”

“MassDEP is advising that sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, do less intense activities, follow asthma action plans, and keep quick relief medicine handy. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.”

This has been a particularly busy wildfire season in Canada. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the fires, which began last month in Alberta, are due to record breaking heat and below-average rainfall. 

NOAA says the Canadian wildfires are causing smoke and other fire emissions (nitrogen oxides and organic compounds) to envelop the U.S., covering most of the East Coast. Those emissions “decrease downwind air quality through increased ozone and airborne particle concentrations.”

Media reports from New York show serious impacts to air quality.

More details are available, including forecasts and real-time data, at MassDEP’s MassAir Online site,


Comments are closed.