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DEEP Forecasts Elevated Levels of PM25 from Smoke Tonight and Tuesday

(HARTFORD)—Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expecting smoke from wildfires over Quebec to elevate fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels beginning after 9:00 pm on Monday, June 5th.. These levels are expected to exceed Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG) levels for an extended period during the overnight period in Western Connecticut and covering the entire State by daybreak.

Health Effects of PM 2.5 Air Pollution

When air quality is forecasted to be USG, there is an increased likelihood that individuals in sensitive groups will develop respiratory symptoms, that aggravation of heart or lung disease could occur, and persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly could experience premature mortality. Children and people with asthma or other lung disease are most at risk for experiencing these symptoms. Active children and adults, and people with impaired lung function or cardiovascular disease should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. If you can smell smoke in the air, then levels are probably high enough to affect sensitive individuals.

EPA Fire and Smoke 060523

EPA Fire and Smoke Map, June 5, 2023, showing fire over Quebec with PM2.5 levels.

Visible Satellite Map

Visible Satellite Map, June 5, 2023, 11:30 a.m., showing smoke plume over Quebec.

HRR Smoke Model

HRRR-Smoke Model showing forecast surface smoke PM2.5 at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday

How do Forest Fires in Quebec Impact Connecticut?

According to the, more than 160 fires are burning across Quebec, most of which are out of control. The wildfire smoke from Quebec is heading towards Connecticut because of a stalled upper-level low-pressure system over Nova Scotia. With this weather pattern, winds at all levels of the atmosphere are from the north and northwest and these winds will persist through Wednesday. The following image shows the fire location with the smoke plume from the EPA Fire and Smoke Map. The satellite image from 11:30 a.m. today shows a thick smoke plume over Quebec, heading south. Currently, the PM2.5 levels at the surface are in the good range, but the HRRR-SMOKE model is forecasting near surface smoke aerosols to reach northwest Connecticut by nightfall, with USG PM2.5 levels moving east over Connecticut by 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. If this weather pattern holds, the USG PM2.5 levels may persist through Wednesday. 

Stay connected and access the daily AQI forecast and real-time air quality data

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Ambient Air Monitoring

DEEP monitors, tracks, and forecasts daily air quality levels across Connecticut for ozone from May 1st through September 30th each year and for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) each day of the year. On April 30, 2023, DEEP began informing Connecticut’s regulated community and the general public of the ozone season via the State of Connecticut E-mail list serve and posting air quality forecasts on the DEEP web page, available here

DEEP encourages daycare providers, summer camps and elder/senior centers to subscribe to the Air Quality Index (AQI).  Subscribing to the AQI is fast and easy and will provide you with important information each day about Connecticut’s air quality through the spring and summer. The AQI link provides facts and information regarding ground-level ozone, its health effects, what today on high ozone day, and most importantly what you can do to help reduce ground level ozone in your backyard.

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DEEP Communications