Impact of Canadian wildfires extends Code Orange Air Quality Action Day to June 7th

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has extended the Code Orange Air Quality Action Day to Wednesday, June 7th due to fine particulate matter resulting from Canadian wildfires, Included in the impacted area are Montgomery County, along with Philadephia, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties. The issue is also expected to impact the Lehigh Valley-Berks and Susquehanna Valley areas.

On June 6th, Montgomery County reported that the smell of smoke in the air resulted in numerous calls to 911.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI) provides standardized color codes for forecasting and reporting daily air quality. Green signifies good air quality; Yellow means moderate air quality; Orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive groups of people; and Red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

An Air Quality Action Day is declared when the AQI is forecasted to be Code Orange or higher. On an Air Quality Action Day, young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

Residents and businesses within the Air Quality Action Day areas are strongly encouraged to voluntarily help reduce fine particulate matter air pollution by: 

• Reducing or eliminating fireplace and wood stove use;
• Avoiding the open burning of leaves, trash, and other materials; and
• Avoiding the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

Photo: Screengrab from CBC’s video