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DEP declares Code Red for Pennsylvania due to Canadian wildfire smoke

This screenshot from shows areas of unhealthy air as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, 2023. (Source:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection declared a Code Red Air Quality Action Day across the entire state Wednesday afternoon.

The alert comes in response to the smoke blanketing Pennsylvania and other northeast states from wildfires raging in Canada. Code Red denotes air that is unhealthy for all populations.

“Pennsylvania residents should limit their outdoor activities,” DEP said in a statement, and pets should be kept indoors. “Children, sensitive populations such as older people, those who exercise or work outdoors and those with lung or respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis should avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.”

Air in portions of Lancaster County was even worse, with an Air Quality Index in the “Very Unhealthy” range above 200 as of mid-afternoon, according to the website That range is denoted as “Code Purple.”

“For areas in Code Purple, all residents should limit outdoor exertion, and sensitive populations should avoid all outdoor exertion,” DEP said.

Smoky conditions are expected to continue until Friday across most of Pennsylvania, DEP said. The agency will continue to issue updated alerts as appropriate.

More than 400 wildfires have displace 20,000 people in Canada, according to the Associated Press.

If you have to be outside for extended periods, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggest wearing a properly fitted high-quality mask such as an N95.