The Detroit area woke up Wednesday to some of the worst air quality in the United States as smoke from Canada’s wildfires settled over most of the Great Lakes region and unhealthy haze rolled into the south to Missouri and Kentucky.
The Environmental Protection Agency airnow.gov The site listed Detroit in the “dangerous” range and warned that “everyone should stay indoors and reduce activity levels.”
drifting smoke forest fires It has lowered haze sheets across wide swaths of the United States, moving into southern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and moving into parts of West Virginia. He airnow.gov The site listed the air quality Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio, Indianapolis, Chicago and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as “very unhealthy.” A wider circle of unhealthy air spread to St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky.
“Another round will move across western New York and western Pennsylvania later today,” National Weather Service meteorologist Byran Jackson said Wednesday. “And then that continues over the northern Mid-Atlantic. It will persist there through Thursday.”
“There is particularly poor air quality … over southern Wisconsin, Illinois, central Indiana, and also another area over southeast Michigan, Detroit, and northeast Ohio around Cleveland,” Jackson added. “This is particularly dense smoke.”
Minnesota issued a record 23rd air quality alert for the year as of Wednesday night as smoky skies obscured the Minneapolis and St. Paul skylines. Michigan also issued an air quality watch and Wisconsin issued an air quality advisory.
In Chicago, a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo became a different kind of adventure. “Just driving to the zoo … you could see around the buildings, like a haze,” visitor Shelly Woinowski said Tuesday.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson urged youth, seniors and residents with health concerns to spend more time indoors as unsafe conditions continue, pledging “swift action to ensure vulnerable people have the resources they need.” to protect themselves and their families.
Across Canada, 490 fires are burning, and 255 of them are considered out of control.
The Canadian Interagency Wildland Fire Center reported Monday that 76,129 square kilometers (29,393 square miles) of land, including forests have burned across Canada from January 1st. That tops the previous record set in 1989 of 75,596 square kilometers (29,187 square miles), according to the National Forest Database.
Wet weather in Quebec gave firefighters a chance to get ahead of some of the blazes, but there hasn’t been enough rain to extinguish the wildfires. Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault said he expects the rain to stop falling by Wednesday morning in regions hardest hit by the bushfires. Many of the fires burning in Canada are in Quebec and Ontario, closer to the more populated areas of North America than to the wilds of the West.
Earlier this month, massive fires burning tracts of Canadian forests it blanketed the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes region with smoke, tinting the air a yellowish-gray and prompting warnings for people to stay indoors and keep windows closed.
Small particles in smoke from forest fires it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and can affect the heart and lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Health officials say it’s important to limit outdoor activities as much as possible to avoid breathing in the particles.
US President Joe Biden has pointed out that hundreds of American employees have joined Canadians in fighting the fires, which he has described as clear evidence of climate change.
Global warming will produce hotter and longer heat waves, leading to bigger, smokier fires, said Joel Thornton, a professor and chair of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.
“You can smell it,” said Priti Marwah, who began her run along the Chicago lakefront on Tuesday. “I run a hundred miles a week, so this is going to be dangerous today. You can feel it… even parking there and getting out, I can feel it in my lungs.”
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said a cold front will bring cleaner air from the west across the Great Lakes region by early Thursday morning.
The next breather meant little to Dan Daley Tuesday at St. Louis Park, Minnesota: He said “some days it’s a little bit miserable because you can’t spend a lot of time outside.”