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Smoke from Canadian fires to linger locally through next week

Jun 08, 2023 1:04 am

Patrick Tine reports in the Times Union that the State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced on June 7 an extension of a public health air quality advisory at least through Thursday night. “Conditions seem to have worsened today,” Seggos said. “We do not expect any relief in sight from the fires that are burning across the provinces.” All of New York except the Adirondacks are covered by the air quality advisory. The smoke may linger over the area for several days, though Seggos was hopeful about predicted rain in Canada early next week that could “help to diminish the presence of smoke.” There have been more than 400 wildfires in Canada over the last several weeks, burning millions of acres. Gov. Kathy Hochul warned, "We need to prepare for this over the long haul.” It could be worse locally. The lower and upper Hudson Valley, including the Capital Region, will have air quality on June 8 that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. The rest of the state, except for the Adirondacks, will have higher levels that are considered unhealthy for everyone. Individuals with health conditions should remain indoors as much as possible locally, and anyone with asthma and other chronic health conditions should refill their inhalers and other medications. N95 masks are recommended for outdoor activity, to keep the small particulate matter from the smoke out of lungs. Department of Health acting Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Masks remove particles and air-pollutant particles are much bigger than viral particles.” Dr. Michael Dailey, chief of prehospital medicine at Albany Medical Center Hospital said he had not seen an increase in respiratory complaints, and said, “I actually attribute that to the fact that the air quality is so obviously bad that I think people are just staying inside.” Some local schools have moved recess inside, and several local outdoor events have been postponed because of the poor air quality. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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