NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Officials with Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection say the state is experiencing an unprecedented air quality event.

The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is expected to improve Friday. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern.

Check the air quality in your area here.

Values of AQIDescription of Air QualityMap Colors
0 to 50Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.Green
51 to 100Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.Yellow
101 to 150Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.Orange
151 to 200Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.Red
201 to 300Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.Purple
301 to 500Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected.Maroon
U.S. Air Quality Index

“If you don’t need to be outside, particularly if you have respiratory issues or other similar ailments, it is strongly encouraged to stay indoors to the greatest extent possible until air quality improves,” Lamont said. 

DEEP checks the air quality across the state using data from a network of more than a dozen air monitoring sites, from Greenwich to Hartford, Middletown to Groton, and New Haven.

On an average day in Connecticut, officials said particulate matter in the air changes from five to eight. On Wednesday, the maximum reading in Bridgeport was 289 — that’s 36 times more than the average.

With the AGI range reaching unhealthy levels, DEEP officials said there are increased respiratory effects in the general population.

“While we brace for another day of poor air quality, we continue to recommend that people avoid being outdoors for prolonged periods of time, if possible,” Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said. “Those with underlying medical conditions, as well as children and older adults, are considered sensitive populations and are most at risk. KN95 and N95 masks are effective at filtering smoke; if you have one available, consider wearing one while outdoors until the air quality improves.” 

“What we’re seeing this week is dramatic, unhealthy, and unprecedented,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Air pollution from Canadian wildfires, made worse by climate change, is now impacting the air we breathe for a fourth straight day. We recommend that people follow guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health to protect themselves from experiencing symptoms from elevated air pollution.” 

The CIAC postponed high school state tournament lacrosse games for the second day in a row. the air quality forecast. The games are now scheduled for Friday.

According to Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency, more than 150 forest fires were burning in the province, including more than 110 deemed out of control. 

Last week, the American Lung Association issued an air quality alert for the state due to increased fine particulate matter levels.