PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island received a second air quality alert in a week’s time due to heavy smoke from the Canadian wildfires.
According to a Monday night announcement from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the state agency predicted that air quality will reach “unhealthy” levels starting Monday evening and will last through Tuesday afternoon.
The poor air quality, which is causing hazy skies across the state, is due to elevated fine particle concentrations from “significant wild-fire smoke” from several Canadian provinces. DEM said that while wildfire smoke is common during the spring and summer months, it usually remains “aloft” and only periodically reaches the surface.
“This event is already producing fine particle readings into the UNHEALTHY range at air quality monitoring sites upwind and north of Rhode Island, with readings in Rhode expected to climb into the overnight hours,” read the DEM announcement.
The size of the particles can also be directly linked to health problems. Small particles around 2.5 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest health risk, according to the state, and can get deep into a person’s lungs and possibly into your blood stream.
#AirQuality Alert - Health Advisory. UNHEALTHY levels are expected this evening Monday, 7/26 through midday on Tuesday, 7/27 due to elevated fine particle concentrations from wild-fire smoke. Fine particles are expected to drop to MODERATE by Tuesday night https://t.co/YzS4PP5Z81— Rhode Island Dept of Environmental Management (@RhodeIslandDEM) July 26, 2021
Exposure to the particles can affect both a person’s lungs and heart. To avoid experiencing these effects, the state recommends that Rhode Islanders limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment, if possible. People with respiratory symptoms may wish to consult with their doctors, advised DEM.
Monday’s alert comes just after the state received an air quality alert on July 20. The fine particles were expected remain “moderate” the following day with less impactful smoke.
On Monday, DEM said the fine particles are expected to drop to “moderate” again on Tuesday evening.