HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — An air quality alert has been issued again for most of the state Tuesday morning, as the smoke from the ongoing west coast wildfires continues to spread across the country.
The hazy skies from the west coast smoke have been prevalent in the area this month; the biggest fires in question are the Dixie Fire in Northern California and the ongoing Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is encouraging residents to limit outdoor activities as elevated levels of fine particles continue to fill the air due to ongoing wildfires on the West Coast.
An air quality alert was initially issued Monday due to the west coast fires.
DEEP is issuing an air quality alert for all of Connecticut today, except for Litchfield County. DEEP encourages residents to limit outdoor activities today until 11 p.m. More info: https://t.co/ifQjL4RTlr pic.twitter.com/LOM8av4R96— DEEP (@CTDEEPNews) July 27, 2021
The West haven boardwalk is usually a place where people come to get a breath of fresh air. That is tough to do on a day like today. You can see it, feel it, even taste it at times. Connecticut’s air is smoky. Phyllis and Louis Gianquinto noticed it on their daily walks.
“We have not seen the blue skies and white clouds at all,” Phyllis said.
The South Windsor Fire Department tweeting that “911 centers across the state are getting inundated with calls reporting smoke.” Doctors say the poor air quality can be dangerous for, well, everyone.
“People who don’t normally have breathing problems are kind of struggling,” said Dr. Richard Krinsky, a pulmonologist with Hartford HealthCare. “There’s a lot of phone calls with coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing.”
The American Lung association warning today is not the day to exercise outdoors. You should also limit the time kids spend playing outside. Be careful near high-traffic areas, like areas next to highways where pollution can make things worse. Today is absolutely not the day to burn any wood or brush in your yard.
“I try to get out early anyways for her schedule,” said West Haven resident Jess D’Amato, referring to her toddler daughter. “The last two days it’s been more hazy than it has been throughout the month.”
“The only thing you can do is get out in the morning and don’t come out in the afternoon, because it is worse in the afternoon,” said Phyllis Gianquinto.
DEEP says people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and teens can take any of these steps to reduce their exposure:
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
- Keep outdoor activities short.
- Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.
Everyone else can take these steps to reduce exposure:
- Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
- Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
- Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
For more information on air quality, including DEEP’s daily Air Quality Index, click here.