Statewide air quality health advisory remains in effect through Thursday

Posted 28 June 2023 at 8:08 pm

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the existing air quality health advisory for the entire state will remain in effect through Thursday, and State Agencies and Authorities continue to coordinate ongoing air quality monitoring, public awareness and education, mask distribution, and other efforts to prevent or limit exposure to elevated levels of smoke-driven air pollution across New York.

The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health are closely monitoring air quality for impacts from Canadian wildfires and issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for tomorrow after forecasts of levels of particulate matter pollution that are “Unhealthy” and “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” In addition, the Governor announced that a third crew of Forest Rangers is deploying to Quebec to assist in the Canadian fire response.

“As we continue to monitor air quality levels and provide communities with the information and tools they need to help prevent exposure to smoke-related air pollution, New Yorkers should remain vigilant and take steps to stay safe,” Governor Hochul said. “I thank the brave New York Forest Rangers joining the Canadian wildfire response and wish them a safe journey as they prepare to assist in the ongoing efforts to control the fires north of our borders.”

 Governor Hochul announced earlier today that the air quality health advisory for Wednesday, June 28 expanded to include the entire state. Tomorrow, Thursday, June 29, smoke will slowly move eastward and stall over Central New York as a high-pressure system meanders over the Mid-Atlantic coast, with the highest concentrations of smoke-induced fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution expected across Western and Northern New York. The smoke plume is expected to move out of New York more slowly than it moved in and heavier smoke is expected to remain upstate through much of Friday.

Air quality is forecasted to reach “Unhealthy” Air Quality Index levels tomorrow for Western and Central New York, Eastern Lake Ontario, and the Adirondacks. At this level, everyone may begin to experience health effects, members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

Air quality is forecasted to reach “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in the rest of the state. At this level, members of sensitive groups such as people with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions like asthma, young children, and older adults, may be more at risk of health effects from smoke. To learn more, see chart here.

Emergency cell phone alerts will be used to warn New Yorkers if air quality index exceeds the 200 threshold for “Very Unhealthy” air and sustained for longer than an hour. The alerts will be transmitted via the Wireless Emergency Alert system, managed by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.