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Are Canadian wildfires affecting Michigan’s air quality?
May 31, 2023
While air quality has suffered on the U.S.’s East Coast because of Canadian wildfires, the fires are not the reason Michigan has had a number of recent Air Quality Action Days, when weather conditions may cause air to be unhealthy for some individuals. On these days, people are encouraged to change their activities to minimize their exposure.
Sunset at Lake Lansing showing effect of smoky sky in May 2023. Courtesy of Cheri Riemer.
Jim Haywood, EGLE meteorologist, says overhead smoke has not had much direct impact on Michigan’s ground-level air quality.
“The current high ozone episode affecting parts of Michigan is due to the same air mass hovering over Michigan for days at a time. Hot weather and clear skies are the culprit,” he notes.
The Canadian wildfires have, however, contributed to unusual conditions. During last week, for example, skywatchers may have noticed that the sun appeared to be on a dimmer switch. “It was a bit surreal to have no clouds but gray skies and only weak shadows showing,” noted Haywood. “This was a result of wildfires in Canada sending elevated smoke down through the Midwest. Fortunately, the layer of smoke is staying elevated and not filtering down to the ground in any significant amounts.”
Interested in keeping track of Michigan’s air quality? Sign up for information concerning the air quality forecast, and to view current Michigan air quality maps, data & information, at the EnviroFlash website and check out the Air Quality index website.