Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection | Office of Communications
For Release June 30, 2023
DEEP Forecasts Unhealthy
Levels of PM2.5 Friday for the Entire State from Canadian Wildfire Smoke; DPH Shares Health Effects Information and Suggests Protective Measures
(HARTFORD)—Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expecting smoke from wildfires over Quebec to elevate fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels on Friday, June 30th. These levels are expected to exceed Unhealthy levels for the entire state. The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) also is issuing guidance for those residents in the USG category.
Health Effects of PM 2.5 Air Pollution
When air quality is forecasted to be Unhealthy, there is an increased likelihood for everyone and especially members of sensitive groups to experience health effects. DPH recommends that those in sensitive populations, which includes children, seniors, and those with heart or lung disease, limit time outdoors and avoid strenuous outdoor exercise. Everyone else should reduce long or intense activities outdoors. Also, it is important to take more breaks during outdoor activities.
“We are once again experiencing impacts in Connecticut from burning Canadian wildfires,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “Levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are expected to reach unhealthy levels. We recommend that children and adults with respiratory disease follow guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health to protect themselves from experiencing symptoms from elevated air pollution. Air quality awareness is important, and we encourage residents to sign up to receive our daily air quality forecasts on the DEEP website, or visit AirNow.gov to stay apprised of local air quality.”
“During these poor air quality events, residents should take precautions to protect themselves, including closing windows and doors to help keep smoke out of the home. We recommend those with asthma, and heart and lung conditions avoid outdoor exercise today,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “The health effects for some people may include chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, eye irritation, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, and other symptoms. Even healthy adults who spend prolonged periods outdoors working or exercising should minimize exertion and take more breaks. Residents also should have medications readily available and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen. During the last instance of poor air quality from wildfires, we saw a rise in asthma-related visits to the emergency department, particularly in children over the age of 5 years. Staying indoors is the best way to reduce exposure.”
How do Forest Fires in Quebec Impact Connecticut?
Major wildfires are still burning across Quebec. The wildfire smoke from Quebec is being funneled through Western New York and Pennsylvania due to high pressure and northeast winds. Friday, winds will shift from westerly to southerly, allowing for the plume to push into Connecticut. The following image shows the smoke plumes from the EPA Fire and Smoke Map. The satellite image from today shows a thick smoke plume just west of Connecticut, with an even a thicker smoke plume over New York State into Canada. Currently, the PM2.5 levels in Connecticut are in the moderate to unhealthy range.