The air quality index value is expected to be greater than 170 for fine particulates on Thursday, indicating a highly unsafe level.
The Chautauqua County Health Department strongly recommends staying indoors or limiting time outdoors if possible with AQIs greater than 150, if the haze appears thick, or you smell smoke.
Governor Kathy Hochul, at a briefing Wednesday night, said these conditions will affect everyone, regardless of age, “So, we’re recommending that people cancel their outdoor activities. We know that some of the baseball games have been canceled. Outdoor activities from professional sports are canceled. And just plan your exercise even around this. You don’t need to go out and run tonight. You don’t need to go out and take a walk. You don’t need to push the baby in the stroller. This is not a safe time to do that. I want to reiterate that.”
The poor air quality issues are due to smoke entering the state from a high number of wildfires in Canada. Hochul spoke with Canadian Consul General Tom Clark, who informed her that in comparison to an average 10 year period, the number of fires being experiencing right now is up 14,000 percent.
Clark said as of Wednesday there are 285 fires right now in Canada, with 175 that are considered out of control.
Hochul has offered to deploy fire rangers to Canada which is being considered by the Consul General’s office.
County Chief Medical Officer and Interim Public Health Director Dr. Michael Faulk said, “If you are physically able to smell smoke, there is a good chance the AQI is greater than 150. Although these levels are unlikely to cause immediate or life threatening symptoms, there may be individuals who could experience worsening symptoms of their underlying respiratory disease.”
Faulk reccomends people limit the use of window fans and keep windows closed with air purifiers on if you have one.”
Those with questions should consult with their family physician for specific health concerns.
You can also check the air quality online at www.airnow.gov.