Chicago air quality hits ‘very unhealthy’ category as Canadian wildfire smoke infiltrates Midwest


(CHICAGO) — Canadian wildfire smoke is infiltrating the Midwest on Tuesday and the air in Chicago has deteriorated to the Air Quality Index’s “very unhealthy” category.

The AQI in hazy Chicago reached 209 on Tuesday afternoon. Any number over 100 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson warned in a statement Tuesday, “We recommend children, teens, seniors, people with heart or lung disease, and individuals who are pregnant avoid strenuous activities and limit their time outdoors. For additional precautions, all Chicagoans may also consider wearing masks, limiting their outdoor exposure, moving activities indoors, running air purifiers, and closing windows.”

The worst air quality in the world Tuesday morning was in Wisconsin.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources issued a statewide air quality advisory in effect until Thursday.

On Tuesday afternoon the AQI in Milwaukee registered in the “very unhealthy” category.

“The most significant air quality and health impacts are anticipated between noon on Tuesday, 6/27 and noon on Wednesday, 6/28,” Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources said. “This is a dynamic situation, and conditions may change rapidly over the next few days. It is important to pay close attention to the air quality in your area and take action, especially if you don’t feel well.”

Earlier this month the Canadian wildfire smoke drifted toward the Northeast, blanketing New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., in a dangerous orange haze and prompting serious air quality alerts in over a dozen states. On June 7 New York City’s AQI hit 484, the highest level on record.

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