Get ready, Columbus! The smoke of summer wildfires has once again reached our city, bringing with it hazy skies and potential health risks.
Yesterday, Columbus experienced quite an ominous atmosphere, courtesy of the wildfires raging in Canada. And unfortunately, it isn’t over yet! Today is going to be a hazy one, as even more smoke reaches the skies above Columbus. An Air Quality Alert is in effect until Thursday, and it could even be extended.
Health Risks and Air Quality
It’s no secret that wildfire smoke can wreak havoc on air quality, and unfortunately, it poses health risks too. Recent research from Stanford University reveals a startling fact: over the last decade, the number of people experiencing at least one day of unhealthy air quality due to smoke has skyrocketed by 27 times. That’s why alerts have been issued, especially for vulnerable groups like children, older adults, and individuals with respiratory conditions. It’s crucial to take these warnings seriously and protect your health.
MORPC has issued an Air Quality Alert for June 27 & 28. Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin and Licking counties are experiencing particle pollution levels that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on the Air Quality Index scale and are forecasted to be Unhealthy tomorrow.#BeAirAware pic.twitter.com/zJ51p7936Y
— MORPC (@MORPC) June 27, 2023
Impacts of Canadian Wildfires
The Canadian wildfires have been causing havoc across the country for our northern neighbors, and their effects have reached far and wide. Even here in Columbus, we’re experiencing hazy skies and dangerous air quality conditions. It’s a reminder of how interconnected our environment can be. These wildfires have already burned millions of acres in Canada, making this one of the worst wildfire seasons on record.
Monitoring Air Quality
Staying informed about air quality in Columbus is essential, especially when it’s connected to fire and smoke. Luckily, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, has got our backs. They maintain an interactive map called AirNow, where you can track active fires, assess local conditions, and stay updated on risks related to air quality. It’s a handy tool to have in your arsenal, and you can access it by visiting fire.airnow.gov.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission issues Air Quality Alerts here in Columbus, and they’ve got advice for days that have a particularly high AQI.
A combination of wildfire smoke and fog have lowered visibilities across the area this morning. If interested in the air quality you can check out the following website: https://t.co/UvOl6LitJr
— NWS Wilmington OH (@NWSILN) June 28, 2023
While the smoke-filled skies may be out of our control, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves. If you fall into a sensitive group, such as children, older adults, or individuals with respiratory conditions, it’s wise to limit your time outdoors when the air quality is poor. Stay in the loop by following official advisories and alerts. When you’re indoors, consider using air purifiers and keeping your windows and doors closed to maintain good indoor air quality.