Code Red Air Quality Alert Issued In Maryland Due To Canadian Wildfires


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - Maryland is facing its second Code Red air quality alert in three weeks. The state's air quality today is described as unhealthy for all residents due to the ongoing wildfires in Canada impacting air quality across the United States.


The Code Red warning applies particularly to individuals with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, who are strongly advised to stay indoors and wear masks if they need to venture outside. However, even healthy individuals are encouraged to be cautious, taking breaks from outdoor activities and avoiding strenuous outdoor activities.

MDE's air quality map as of 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. (Credit: Maryland Department of the Environment)

The smoky air from the wildfires, initially over the Great Lakes region, has been swept by northwest winds into the Mid-Atlantic. Western Maryland was the first to experience this severe increase in smoke concentrations, but the entire state has seen a steady escalation.

MDE explained that high pressure, calming winds, and surface inversions are trapping the smoke at ground level, just as the most intense portions of the smoke plume are carried in from Pennsylvania. These concentrations will be most severe along and north of the I-95, close to the Pennsylvania line.

Concentrations are expected to decrease throughout Thursday before significantly improving on Friday. MDE projects that by Saturday, air quality will return to Moderate levels (yellow).

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