The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting concentrations of fine particle air pollution to potentially reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in all parts of the state on Thursday, June 29, and Friday, June 30.
NHDES officials are providing this advisory so that sensitive individuals can take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged outdoor exertion during periods when smoke can be seen or smelled. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults; anyone with heart disease and/or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis; and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities. Seeking places with air conditioning or high-quality air filtration systems can ease symptoms.
The particle air pollution event is the result of extensive wildfires in eastern Canada. Current wind patterns are transporting waves of smoke from these fires across much of the country. Over the next few days, the smoke will be at the western and southern borders of New Hampshire and could cross into the state for short periods of time. Should this occur, concentrations of smoke can change rapidly. In addition to the health effects, these smoke plumes also diffract light causing a hazy appearance in the sky and reduced visibility of distant objects.
The severity of the health effects increases as fine particle concentrations increase. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. People with asthma and other existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as deeply or vigorously as normal and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.
Further advisories will be issued if necessary.
For further information, call NHDES at (603) 271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the NHDES website at https://www4.des.state.nh.us/airdata/.