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DEP declares Code Red Air Quality Action Day

This map shows air quality conditions due to particulate matter from Canadian wildfires as of early afternoon on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Source: AirNow)

Canadian wildfires are once again raising atmospheric particulate matter levels to unhealthy levels in Lancaster County and across Pennsylvania.

The Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday declared a Code Red Air Quality Action Day throughout the state, denoting unhealthy air for the general population, not just at-risk groups.

Air quality was expected to deteriorate during the day in eastern Pennsylvania. The issue is expected to persist Thursday and Friday, “with some possible relief on Saturday,” DEP said.

A Code Red alert signifies that young children, the elderly and individuals with respiratory difficulties should avoid outdoor activities. Other people should reduce prolonged exposure or heavy exertion.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, air quality in Lancaster was in the orange range, denoting “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

For updates on current pollution levels, visit the AirNow website.

Pennsylvania is among 20 states to have declared air quality alerts. The smoke is coming from nearly 500 active wildfires in Canada, of which more than 250 are burning out of control, reports ABC News.