Quick Takes

‘Unhealthy’ air from Canadian wildfires blankets Kentucky

By: - June 28, 2023 1:19 pm

Poor air quality across Kentucky. (Photo by Air Now screenshot)

Kentucky is under an air quality alert from the Energy and Environment Cabinet as Canadian wildfires left the commonwealth’s skies hazy with smoke. 

The Air Quality Index shows much of Kentucky is in the “red” — basically, unhealthy. 

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says people who have heart or lung disease, older adults and youth should limit outdoor activities, avoid “strenuous” outdoor time and try to keep indoors. 

“Everyone may experience health effects,” the National Weather Service said Wednesday, cautioning those with breathing problems to “greatly limit” their time outside “ to reduce their exposure to ozone and particulate pollution.” 

The forecast shows widespread haze continuing through Wednesday and clearing Thursday. 

There are nearly 500 wildfires burning in Canada, The New York Times reported Wednesday, with more than 200 “out of control.” 

Those fires sent smoke across large parts of the United States, and even to Europe, NPR reported. 

“Smoke from wildfires in Canada has drifted right across the Atlantic Ocean and is now evident on satellite imagery across western Europe,” the United Kingdom’s MET Office said on Twitter Monday. “Whilst the smoke is high up in the atmosphere, it may make for some vivid sunrises and sunsets in the next few days.” 

The Lantern reported in early June that masking when outdoors can help protect the most vulnerable, but limiting exposure is the best protection

You can track air quality by your ZIP code or city here: https://www.airnow.gov/


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.

Kentucky Lantern is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.