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United Way of Lancaster County


Wildfire air pollution easing, but still hazardous

(Source: AirNow)

The particulate pollution from Canadian wildfires appears to be ebbing in Lancaster County, but levels remain hazardous, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday.

“With conditions over much of eastern and central Pennsylvania in the Maroon or Hazardous Air Quality Index, residents should stay inside as much as possible until conditions improve,” Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Rich Negrin said in a statement.

As of 2 p.m., the air quality index, or AQI, in Lancaster city was 208, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow website. That’s just slightly in the “very unhealthy” range and is down sharply from 448, or “hazardous,” at 9 a.m.

Conditions will likely improve over the rest of Thursday, moving eastern Pennsylvania into a Code Red range.

The air quality issue has led to postponements and cancellations throughout the northeast United States. Locally, WGAL has posted a list of cancellations in the Susquehanna Valley.

There were no reports of any local organizations opening extreme weather shelters, as is done with cooling stations in case of extreme heat. The 211 East social services helpline has not received an uptick of calls in connection with the weather or air quality, 211 East Director Patricia Espinosa-Vargas said. Nor has the Lancaster County 911 Communications Center noted any uptick in calls related to respiratory distress, a supervisor there said.

This map shows air quality in Pennsylvania as of 1 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2023. (Source: AirNow)