© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact air quality in New England

A map showing how smoke from wildfires in Canada was impacting the eastern portion of the United States.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A map showing how smoke from wildfires in Canada was impacting the eastern portion of the United States.

Para leer este artículo en español, haga clic aquí.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to impact air quality in New England Wednesday. And some medical experts are urging people to take steps to protect themselves.

Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield says it has seen a recent uptick in respiratory illness cases in its emergency room, but several other hospitals in western Massachusetts said Wednesday that has not been the case, including at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington.

Dr. James Mazo is the regional executive director for occupational health and safety with Trinity Health of New England, which Mercy Medical Center in Springfield is a part of. He said the very young, the very old and people with health conditions should consider staying inside right now. He also said those venturing out should monitor their own health.

"You may notice that your chest might feel a little bit heavy. You might have some irritation and you may have a slight cough that's unusual for you. So, those are signs that you should really go inside and take it easy," he said.

So, given the poor air quality, what should the generally consider before going outside?

"I think anything that requires exertion could be something you might want to think about before going out," said Sarah McKeown, the nursing director for the emergency department and ambulatory services at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. "Long runs, exercise, things like that. Moderation is probably okay."

And Mazo said N-95 masks, a familiar tool against COVID, could also provide protection from the smoke.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts state environmental officials issued a statewide air quality alert through midnight. In a press release, the state’s department of environmental protection said air quality was expected to be unhealthy for “sensitive groups” such as those with heart or lung disease, such as asthma.

The Canadian Press reported in the province of Quebec, some 40 forest fires and a total of 150 fires were burning as of Wednesday afternoon.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content