Canadian Wildfires Prompt Air Quality Alerts for Millions of Americans

Canadian Wildfires Prompt Air Quality Alerts for Millions of Americans

The Willis Tower is pictured in downtown Chicago, where the air quality was categorized “unhealthy” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on June 27, 2023.  (CLAIRE SAVAGE/AP)

Canada is experiencing a record-breaking wildfire season. More than 880 wildfires are active in the country, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. The fires have burned an area roughly the size of Indiana.

The wildfires are once again bringing smoky skies to the U.S. in what is becoming an increasingly familiar sight to many Americans.

As of Monday afternoon, cities across the Midwest reported some of the worst air quality in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index. Wind Cave, South Dakota; Broadus, Montana; and Columbus, Ohio ranked among the worst.

Several state officials, including in Wisconsin, Michigan and New York, advised residents to limit their time outdoors

Pollution caused by smoke can bother some more than others, including people with heart or lung diseases like asthma, older adults, young children and babies. Such pollution has been linked to eye irritation, lung and throat irritation and trouble breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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