Air Quality Alerts Issued in 20 U.S. States From Canadian Wildfires

June 28, 2023


Millions of Americans across 20 states were under alert Wednesday for unhealthy air quality due to smoke drifting from some 500 active wildfires in Canada.

The air quality alerts were in effect early in the day from Iowa to western Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Only Chicago was reported to be getting a slight reprieve early in the day thanks to a lake breeze, but it wasn’t expected to last long.

Later on Wednesday, smoke was expected to cover Minnesota to Washington DC and down to the Carolinas. 

By Thursday morning, smoke would be visible in Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. By Thursday afternoon, the smoke was forecast to hang over stretches from Detroit to Atlanta, as well as eastward impacting Washington DC and Philadelphia.

New York City, which on June 7 had been had been blanketed by an eerie orange haze for several hours as it experienced the worst air quality on all of planet Earth that day, was also expected to be impacted in the latest forecasts. However, the western part of the state was expected to take the brunt of the smoke in New York, as were Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. 

At shortly after 12pm ET the FAA noted that Chicago was down to “a mile and a half visibility” due to the wildfire smoke from Canada that had “drifted into the midwest” and that was expected to move toward the mid-Atlantic, but the agency was so far not reporting significant flight disruptions the way it had earlier in the month.

Wednesday’s forecast for Chicago came as President Biden was visiting the city for a 12pm CT speech on “Bidenomics.” Ahead of his flight the White House said his schedule had not been modified despite the air quality in the city.

Earlier in the month, the White House had been compelled to postpone by a few days an outdoor Pride Month Celebration on the  South Lawn due to air quality concerns from the wildfires.

PHOTO: National Weather Service, Pittsburgh Wednesday

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