Canadian Wildfire Smoke Expected to Return to Illinois, Indiana, Prompting Health Concerns

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ILLINOIS – Prepare for hazy days ahead as smoke from Canadian wildfires makes a comeback in Illinois and Indiana starting this Sunday. 

Several cities in the United States have issued air quality alerts due to high levels of fine particulate matter in the air. Residents are advised to minimize outdoor activities and reduce physical exertion during this period.

Environmental officials in Indiana have already declared an Air Quality Action Day on Sunday, July 16. 

They anticipate the impact of wildfire smoke and particulate matter from western Canada to affect the area from Saturday night, extending into Monday. The smoke may become dense, reducing visibility and emitting a noticeable odor.

While individuals without respiratory conditions may experience only minor discomfort such as scratchy throats or itchy/watery eyes, those with asthma, COPD, and emphysema should take extra precautions. Limiting outdoor activities and engaging in less strenuous exercise is strongly advised. Setting car air conditioners to “recirculate” can help avoid drawing in polluted air. It’s worth noting that N95 and KN95 masks are the most effective in filtering out particulate matter.

The ongoing Canadian wildfires, which began in March 2023 and intensified in June, have already made this the worst wildfire season on record in Canada and North America. So far, over 4,000 fires have ravaged 23.3 million acres, with more than half considered “out of control.” The resulting smoke has triggered air quality alerts and forced evacuations in both Canada and the United States, extending even to Europe.

According to numerous officials, Climate change, combined with poor forest management practices and an increase in lightning strikes, has contributed to the severity of these wildfires. This has resulted in adverse environmental impacts and raised long-term health concerns due to increased pollution and carbon emissions.

As the Canadian wildfire smoke descends upon Illinois and Indiana once again, it is crucial for residents to prioritize their well-being. By following the guidance of local authorities and taking necessary precautions, individuals can protect themselves and minimize the potential health risks associated with the lingering smoke.

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