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RI Weather

R.I. under air quality alert due to Canadian wildfires

The state says residents should limit their outdoor exercise and strenuous activity

A helicopter prepared to make a water drop as smoke billowed along the Fraser River Valley near Lytton, British Columbia, Canada, on Friday.James MacDonald/Bloomberg

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island received an air quality alert Tuesday due to heavy smoke from the Canadian wildfires.

According to an announcement from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, heavy smoke from the wildfires is causing elevated fine particle concentrates that are affecting the entire state, reaching “unhealthy levels.”

The fine particles are expected to remain “moderate” on Wednesday, with less impactful smoke.

The state recommends residents avoid exposure to these particles by limiting outdoor exercise and strenuous activity by staying in an air-conditioned environment if possible. Rhode Islanders with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by the pollution exposure, according to the department.


Exposure to these particles can affect a person’s lungs and heart, causing problems such as irregular heartbeat, non-fatal heart attacks, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and increased respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing, or difficulty breathing.

For those with lung or heart disease, exposure can also cause premature death, according to the state agency.

The news comes as air quality alerts have been announced in most northern US states Tuesday because of the wildfires.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.