Canadian wildfires are causing the worst air in the US in cities like Chicago and Detroit

by Ethan Kim

Smoke from the ongoing wildfires in Canada is causing severe air pollution in cities like Chicago and Detroit in the United States. The haze created by the drifting smoke is raising concerns about air quality in the Great Lakes region and parts of the central and eastern US.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow.gov site, areas in Illinois, lower Michigan, and southern Wisconsin experienced the worst air quality in the US on Tuesday afternoon. Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee had air quality classified as “very unhealthy.”

Minnesota issued its record 23rd air quality alert due to smoky skies obscuring the skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy issued an air quality alert for the entire state, and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources issued an air quality advisory.

Authorities in Chicago advised young people, older adults, and individuals with health issues to spend more time indoors. Daycare centers in the area informed parents that their children would remain indoors due to poor air quality. A youth sports club adjusted its activities to include more indoor time.

The Milwaukee area faced challenges as Flight for Life Wisconsin was unable to respond to a motorcycle-van crash due to reduced visibility caused by the hazy skies.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service explained that fires in northern Quebec and low pressure over the eastern Great Lakes were carrying the smoke through northern Michigan, southern Wisconsin, and Chicago. They predicted that a north wind would push the smoke further south into Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reported that a record-breaking 76,129 square kilometers (29,393 square miles) of land, including forests, had burned across Canada since the beginning of the year. Currently, there are 490 fires burning, with 255 of them considered out of control.

Despite recent rainfall in Quebec, officials believe it won’t be enough to extinguish the wildfires completely. However, the wet weather could provide an opportunity for firefighters to gain control over the flames.

The small particles present in wildfire smoke can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and can also affect the heart and lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Health officials advise limiting outdoor activities to minimize exposure to these particles.

US President Joe Biden has emphasized the impact of climate change on wildfires, noting that hotter and longer heatwaves will contribute to bigger and more intense fires.

Residents in affected areas, such as Chicago and Minnesota, expressed concerns about the poor air quality, with some reporting the strong smell and taste of smoke in the air. They worry about the potential long-term consequences and limitations on outdoor activities.

Note: The original text has been significantly condensed and restructured for clarity and readability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wildfires

What is causing the worst air quality in US cities like Chicago and Detroit?

Drifting smoke from the ongoing wildfires across Canada is the main cause of the worst air quality in US cities like Chicago and Detroit. The smoke is creating haze and raising air quality concerns in the Great Lakes region and parts of the central and eastern United States.

How are the wildfires in Canada affecting air quality in the US?

The smoke from the Canadian wildfires is traveling southward and blanketing US cities like Chicago and Detroit, leading to poor air quality. The haze caused by the drifting smoke is creating health concerns and prompting authorities to issue air quality alerts and advisories.

How are residents and authorities responding to the poor air quality?

Authorities in affected cities are advising vulnerable individuals, such as young people, older adults, and those with health issues, to spend more time indoors. Some daycare centers have kept children indoors, and youth sports activities have been adjusted to incorporate more indoor time. Residents are expressing concerns about the impact on their daily lives and outdoor activities.

What are the health risks associated with the poor air quality?

The small particles present in wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and affect the heart and lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Health officials recommend limiting outdoor activities to minimize exposure to these particles and reduce the risk of respiratory issues and other health problems.

How are the Canadian wildfires impacting other states in the US?

The smoke from the Canadian wildfires is not limited to Chicago and Detroit. It is also affecting other states like Minnesota, where a record number of air quality alerts have been issued. The smoke is expected to continue spreading southward, potentially impacting states like Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky as well.

Is climate change a factor in the severity of the wildfires?

Yes, climate change is considered a contributing factor to the severity of wildfires. President Joe Biden has highlighted the connection between climate change and more intense and frequent wildfires. The warming planet, along with hotter and longer heatwaves, creates conditions conducive to larger and smokier fires.

More about wildfires

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John Smith June 28, 2023 - 12:48 am

omg dis is serius! Canadian wildfires makn da air in US cities like chicago n detroit so bad. ppl shud stay indoors n be careful. hope dey put out da fires soon!

FirefighterJoe June 28, 2023 - 4:06 am

As a firefighter, dis is a real challenge for us. dem wildfires in Canada are huge and da smoke is causin problems in US cities. we’re workin hard to protect people n put out da fires. stay strong, folks!

SportsFanatic June 28, 2023 - 4:31 am

Darn! Da poor air quality is even affectin youth sports. gotta change up da activities n keep da kids indoors. Hopefully, da situation improves soon so we can get back to playin outside. Hang in there, everyone!

Sarah123 June 28, 2023 - 4:36 am

woah, I can’t believe da smoke from dem Canadian wildfires is reachin all da way to Chicago n Detroit. it’s makin da air soooo unhealthy! stay safe everyone and try to limit ur time outside!

NatureLover87 June 28, 2023 - 1:18 pm

It’s so sad to see da impact of climate change causin these massive wildfires. we gotta take better care of our planet and do somethin about it! Prayin for everyone affected by da poor air quality. #SaveThePlanet


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