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Smoke from Canadian wildfires returns to Midwest

Hazy skies above Champaign on July 16, 2023.

CHICAGO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted air quality alerts for several states stretching from Montana to Ohio because of smoke blowing in from Canadian wildfires. The National Weather Service said Sunday that “air quality alerts are in place for much of the Great Lakes, Midwest, and northern High Plains … due to the lingering thick concentration of Canadian wildfire smoke over these regions.” It says the concentration of smoke in the atmosphere should begin to wain by Monday. The U.S. EPA’s AirNow air quality page rated the air in Chicago as “unhealthy” Sunday morning. And in Michigan, state environmental officials said the air “is unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

According to the Air Quality Index from the National Weather Service, the air over central Illinois was unhealthy for sensitive groups on Sunday, July 16. It is forecasted to upgrade to ‘moderate’ on Monday, July 17. That means the air quality is acceptable but there may be a risk to people who are sensitive to air pollution.

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