Smoke from Canadian wildfires affects air quality in Danville

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023


As the smoke from the wildfires currently spreading across the Canadian wilderness reaches Danville, the effect that is has is more than just a hazy look in the air. Air quality in Danville and throughout central Kentucky is at a Code Red alert with pollution at unhealthy levels greater than 150 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index. That means that even otherwise healthy individuals might experience adverse health effects from exposure, and sensitive groups such as the elderly or those with respiratory issues should take precautions, such as staying indoors as much as possible.

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wildfire smoke carries particulate matter, or PM2.5, that when inhaled can travel deep into lung tissue and enter the bloodstream. It can have an adverse affect on many of the body’s vital organs and has been linked to asthma, heart disease and other respiratory illnesses.

The issue has become so severe that this week Chicago had the worst air quality index of any city around the world.

To protect yourself from the smoke, limit outdoor activities and avoid strenuous activities outdoors. Leave windows closed and ensure that all of your HVAC system’s filters are changed regularly. If you must spend a lot of time outside or are a high-risk individual, consider wearing an N95 mask for protection. Surgical, paper or cloth masks, according to the CDC, are ineffective against wildfire particulate matter.