IDEM issues statewide Air Quality Action Day for today and Thursday due to smoke from wildfires

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has issued a statewide Air Quality Action Day (AQAD) for today and tomorrowJuly 21-22. IDEM is forecasting high levels of fine particles (PM2.5) in the air due to smoke from wildfires in the western United States and southern Canada. The AQAD is for all regions:

  • Central Indiana – Marion, Bartholomew, Delaware, Hamilton, Howard, Madison, Monroe
  • North Central Indiana – St. Joseph, Elkhart
  • Northeast Indiana – Allen, Whitley
  • Northwest Indiana – Lake, Porter
  • Southeast Indiana – Clark, Floyd
  • Southwest Indiana –Dubois, Spencer, Vanderburgh
  • West Central Indiana – Tippecanoe, Vigo

Note: The counties listed are those with a PM2.5 air monitor. Due to this unique widespread event, the AQADs are issued for the entire region listed.

IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce PM2.5 while remaining safe during the COVID-19 health crisis by making changes to daily habits. You can:

  • Reduce activity time outdoors to reduce unhealthy exposure to PM2.5 and avoid exercising near busy roads.
  • Avoid burning wood and any other unnecessary fires.
    • Reminder: Indiana’s open burning laws make it illegal to burn trash and generally prohibit open burning, visit IN.gov/openburning for more information.
  • Combine errands into one trip.
  • Avoid using gasoline-powered equipment or gas-powered recreational vehicles.
  • Keep your engine tuned, and don’t let your engine idle (e.g., at a bank or restaurant drive-thru).
  • Conserve energy by turning off lights or setting the thermostat to 75 degrees or higher.

PM2.5 is composed of microscopic dust, soot, and liquid that settles deep into the lungs and cannot be easily exhaled. Those people at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high PM2.5 exposure.

IDEM examines weather patterns and PM2.5 readings to make daily air quality forecasts. Air Quality Action Days generally occur when weather conditions such as light winds, higher humidity, and lower atmospheric inversions trap pollutants close to the ground, or when winds transport smoke to the area. To learn more about PM2.5 or sign up for air quality alerts, visit SmogWatch.IN.gov. To learn more about how smoke from fires can affect your health, visit www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/how-smoke-fires-can-affect-your-health.

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