NH declares smoke advisory due to Nova Scotia wildfires

A screenshot of the EPA’s interactive AirNow map on Tuesday around 4 p.m. shows the Northeast’s air quality changing as smoke from the Nova Scotia wildfires moves in. (Screenshot)

A screenshot of the EPA’s interactive AirNow map on Tuesday around 4 p.m. shows the Northeast’s air quality changing as smoke from the Nova Scotia wildfires moves in. (Screenshot)

By HADLEY BARNDOLLAR

New Hampshire Bulletin

Published: 05-31-2023 9:28 AM

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on New Hampshire Bulletin.

The state Department of Environmental Services is issuing an elevated particle air pollution advisory for Tuesday afternoon through Friday, citing wildfires in Canada.

Central and southern Nova Scotia have experienced unusual record-breaking heat resulting in the wildfires spanning more than 25,000 acres and forcing more than 16,000 people to evacuate their homes. Current wind patterns are likely to transport plumes of smoke across much of the Northeast this week. 

Though air quality overall in New Hampshire is expected to remain acceptable and not exceed federal health standards, DES said, individuals who are unusually sensitive to air pollution — including children, older adults, and anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis — or anyone especially sensitive to smoke should take precautions to protect their health by limiting their outdoor exposure and physical activity. 

Symptoms of particle pollution exposure can include chest pain, palpitations, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. People with asthma and other existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as they normally do.

Concentrations of particles are expected to peak during the late afternoon on Tuesday through Wednesday morning, and air quality will likely improve late Friday with changing winds and forecasted rain. 

The state could also see hazy skies this week as a result of the smoke. 

For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit https://www4.des.state.nh.us/airdata/.

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