Skip to content
Home » Ontario County » Air Quality Advisory issued as Canadian wildfire smoke returns to the Finger Lakes

Air Quality Advisory issued as Canadian wildfire smoke returns to the Finger Lakes

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and State Department of Health have issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for Wednesday.

The advisory is for the Eastern Lake Ontario, Central New York, and Western New York regions, which includes Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Oswego, Wayne, Allegany, Broome, southern Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, southern Herkimer, Livingston, Madison, Onondaga, Oneida, Ontario, Otsego, Tioga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Yates, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

The advisory, active from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., comes in response to the forecast of ‘Unhealthy’ Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in Western New York and ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’ AQI levels in Central New York and Eastern Lake Ontario regions.

The primary pollutant of concern is Fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5), which consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air, often produced by combustion processes such as vehicle exhaust, power plants, and fires. Short-term exposure to PM 2.5 can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath.

People with heart or breathing problems, and children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM 2.5. Reducing exposure can be achieved by minimizing both outdoor and indoor sources of PM 2.5 and avoiding strenuous activities in areas where fine particle concentrations are high.

The authorities have also advised New Yorkers to take steps that can help reduce pollution, such as using mass transit instead of personal cars, conserving fuel, turning off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, using fans to circulate air, and limiting use of household appliances during peak hours.

These measures, along with others like reducing or eliminating outdoor burning and minimizing indoor sources of PM 2.5, like smoking, can play a crucial role in ensuring better air quality.