By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff Writer,
Residents in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area once again experienced unhealthy air quality on June 29 due to wildfires rage in Canada.
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued an alarming air quality alert.
“Northwest winds have pushed smoke from the Great Lakes region into the Mid-Atlantic. Smoke concentrations have been greatest over Western Maryland Wednesday, but have steadily increased statewide,” reported MDE.
According to the National Wildland Fire Situation Report from the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, there are 78 Active fires currently burning uncontrolled.
The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere first reported that the Canadian fires were affecting air in the U.S on June 6.
As a result of the smoke, air quality in the DMV has declined significantly. Residents can check the air quality in their zip code by visiting Airnow.gov.
Airnow.gov is operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state and local air quality agencies. It helps residents understand the quality of the air they are breathing using numbers on an air quality index (AQI).
The AQI numbers range from 0 to over 300. If the AQI number is between 0 and 50, the air is considered “good”. Anything over 151 is considered “unhealthy.”
On June 29, in the Baltimore area the AQI was 205 which is considered “very unhealthy.” Meanwhile in Washington D.C. it sat at 174.
According to a Maryland Department of Environment, residents can expect a “higher daily average AQI for northern areas,” while more southern parts of the DMV area will experience “slightly cleaner” but still “unhealthy” air conditions.
The forecast noted that continued improvement is expected by July 1 and air quality should return to moderate levels by the weekend.