New York State environmental officials continue to closely monitor air quality for potential impacts from Canadian wildfires, as well as ozone and other pollutants. The current New York State Department of Environmental Conservation statewide air quality forecast for Wednesday, June 28, shows the potential for unhealthy air quality to impact most of the state with thick surface smoke overnight Wednesday. Due to a cold front entering Western New York from the northwest in the early morning Wednesday, winds are expected to bring potential near-surface smoke impacts statewide.
Although forecast uncertainty remains, New Yorkers should be prepared for possible elevated levels of fine particulate pollution caused by smoke on Wednesday. If necessary, the departments of Environmental Conservation and Health will issue Air Quality Health Advisories to regions impacted by wildfire smoke. Air Quality Health Advisories are issued when ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100.
The New York State Department of Health is advising precautions as necessary. Steps for individuals to take to reduce risk, include:
- When AQI is greater than 100, New Yorkers in vulnerable groups should avoid exertion outdoors and watch for symptoms when exposed to the outdoors. Vulnerable individuals include those with cardiovascular disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, history of prior heart attack) or lung disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as children under 18, adults 65 and older, and pregnant people.
- When AQI is greater than 150, all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and those in vulnerable groups should avoid exposure to the outdoors, especially pregnant individuals who may become short of breath more easily.
- Individuals who are pregnant may also be more vulnerable and become short of breath more easily, staying indoors when AQI is greater than 150 is advised.
- For people who spend time outdoors, when air quality is unhealthy, wearing a well-fitting face mask is recommended. A or KN95 will work best.
Organizations who run outdoor activities or have outdoor workforces should begin planning now for potential changes to activity on Wednesday, June 28.