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Wildfire smoke pollution expected to bring poor air quality to New England

 Rye Beach sunrise with a hazy appearance on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.
Dan Tuohy
A hazy sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Rye on June 6, 2023, following a few days of wildfire smoke pollution.

The air is expected to be unhealthy across New England this weekend due to pollution from ongoing wildfires in Canada.

New Hampshire environmental officials declared air quality action days on Saturday and Sunday. They said pollution is expected to be especially acute in Cheshire, Grafton and Sullivan counties, and at elevations above 2,000 feet.

The Environmental Protection Agency also warned of poor air quality across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The fine particle pollution expected this weekend can cause chest pain, palpitations and breathing problems, New Hampshire environmental officials warned. While certain people — like children, older adults and those with asthma — might be especially sensitive, officials said even healthy people "should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities."

It's not the first time that smoke from far away wildfires has complicated the air quality in New Hampshire this summer. And, as the climate continues changing, it's likely to continue.

“We can say pretty confidently that wildfire smoke is likely to be one of the most widely felt health impacts of climate change,” Justin Mankin, climate researcher and professor of geography at Dartmouth College, previously told NHPR. “New Hampshire enjoys being a climate refuge in a lot of ways. I think this event in Canada signals that we are not impervious to climate extremes here.”

Learn more about the health risks of wildfire smoke and how to protect yourself.

You can monitor the air quality where you live on the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services website, or by calling 1-800-935-SMOG.

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