Smoke from Canadian wildfires is easing across Northeast Ohio, but the air quality remains “unhealthy” according to tracking site
The National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued Air Quality Advisory for fine particulate matter until midnight Thursday. Affected counties include Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also extended its air quality advisory through Thursday. The agency stated that it expects the Air Quality Index to be in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “very unhealthy” ranges.
That means anyone in a sensitive group – including young children, older adults or those with heart and lung disease – should stay indoors for any physical activity, and everyone else should limit the amount of time they are active outdoors.
The air quality tracking site ranks Akron air as “unhealthy,” with a score of 163. That’s an improvement from the “very unhealthy” score of 272 on Wednesday morning. The site, a partnership between the EPA, NWS, NASA and others, ranks Akron’s air worse than Beijing, China (54), and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (133).
Three U.S. cities ranked among the top five major cities in the world with the worst air quality Wednesday morning: Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis, according to IQ Air’s live ranking of major world cities. Washington, D.C., made the top 10.
According to, huge swaths of the Midwest had air quality in at least the red, or “unhealthy” level, including most or all of the states of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Parts of Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and New York were also in the red on a national map.
The air was “very unhealthy” − purple on the air quality index map − in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
There were 500 active wildfires burning throughout Canada as of Thursday, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. Of those, 257 are considered out of control.
It’s one of the worst wildfire seasons on record for the country. Smoke from wildland fires burning in Quebec has even reached parts of southwestern Europe, NASA’s Earth Observatory reported on Monday. Soot particles reached across 2,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, causing hazy skies in Europe. Air quality there is mostly fair because the particulates are higher in the atmosphere, NASA said.
Experts say the number of fires in Canada will increase in the coming years. And scientists said early this month that human-caused climate change will lead to more fires in the U.S. So whether it’s future Canadian fires or the wildfire season in the U.S., odds are you’ll encounter toxic smoke in years to come, which has prompted health experts to warn of the smoke’s dangers.
“If the air quality outdoors is really bad, stay indoors as much as possible,” says William P. Bahnfleth, an engineer and a professor of architectural engineering at Penn State University. “If you must go out in the smoke wear an N95 mask outdoors, and avoid heavy exertion.”
Because staying indoors is your best protection from toxic smoke, experts recommend giving your house a wildfire checkup.
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech Linsey Marr says, “The overall goal is to keep the outdoor air outside and to clean the indoor air as much as possible.” Marr and Bahnfleth offer these tips:


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