Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's (WVDEP) Division of Air Quality and the state Department of Health and Human Resources' (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health (BPH) are issuing a statewide Air Quality Advisory for fine particulate matter as smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact air quality in the eastern United States.
According to AirNow.gov
, unofficial air monitors indicate counties in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle (Air Quality Index score of 201-300), the Morgantown-Clarksburg-Fairmont area (151-200), and the Charleston area (101-150) are currently the most impacted in the state.
Citizens are encouraged to check the AirNow website
to see real time air quality data in their area and surrounding states.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), AQI scores in the 201-300 range (purple) indicate an increased risk of health effects for everyone. Scores in the 151-200 range (red) indicate that some members of the general public may experience health effects and members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Areas with scores in the 101-150 range (orange) will primarily impact those who are sensitive to air pollution.
Per the EPA, citizens in areas with poor air quality are encouraged to limit their time outdoors and avoid strenuous activities. N-95 masks can help reduce smoke inhalation and potential health risks.
More information about the AQI, including activity guides for when air quality reaches unhealthy levels, is available here.
for information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting yourself from wildfire smoke.