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Smoke from Western wildfires impacting air quality in Region
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Smoke from Western wildfires impacting air quality in Region

Pacific Heat Wave Climate

A wildfire burns in the mountains north of Lytton, British Columbia, Canada, during record high temperatures July 1. Two Air Quality Action Days were issued in Indiana Wednesday and Thursday because of smoke from Western wildfires.

Wildfires burning hundreds of miles away are sending smoke into Indiana, leading officials to declare Wednesday and Thursday Air Quality Action Days throughout the state.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said high levels of fine particle matter in the air, caused by smoke emanating from wildfires in the western United States and southern Canada, are forecast to create hazardous conditions. The dangerous particulates consist of “dust, soot and liquid that settles deep into the lungs and cannot be exhaled,” according to a press release.

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In response to the air quality concerns, IDEM is asking residents to take action to improve the conditions.

Locals are urged to avoid burning any unnecessary fires, combine errands to a single trip, avoid using gas-powered equipment or vehicles, and to try to keep engines from idling, even in places like drive-thru lanes. Residents are also asked to conserve energy by turning off lights at home and setting thermostats to at least 75 degrees.

This is the second time this week that IDEM has noted unsafe air conditions in the area. The agency also declared Tuesday an Air Quality Action Day after predicting ozone levels would be high in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.

Information on Indiana’s air quality is available at smogwatch.in.gov.

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Andy is a staff writer with The Times covering public safety and breaking news. Contact him at andy.viano@nwi.com or 219-933-3250.

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