Smoky skies return to Wisconsin as wildfires continue to rage in Canada

NOW: Smoky skies return to Wisconsin as wildfires continue to rage in Canada

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wildfire smoke from Canada prompted state agencies to issue air quality advisories for southeastern Wisconsin, Thursday, June 15.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced most of the region's air quality is labeled as 'moderate' or 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' and advised people to limit time outside.

Among the steps people should take, the DNR included:

•              Stay indoors.

•              Close doors and windows.

•              Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution - vacuuming, frying food, burning candles or using gas powered appliances.

•              Install a high-efficiency air filter.

•              Use an N95 mask if outdoors for long periods.

Experts with the City of Milwaukee Health Department told CBS 58 the PM2.5 particles caused by wildfire smoke is potentially harmful for vulnerable groups.

"PM2.5 is the key air pollutant in a situation like this where we have air pollution from wildfires," Dr. Nick Tomaro with the city health department said. "That particulate matter is so small that it can get deep into the airwaves of the lungs and can even enter the bloodstreams."

For people with conditions like asthma, COPD or other similar issues, he recommends using an N95 mask, which are able to filter out PM2.5 particles.

Other officials are also taking steps to protect people who may be vulnerable.

That includes community centers for seniors in Waukesha County.

"We have seniors who come to our dining centers, and we also want to make sure that they stay safe, so to limit the time we have them come and then not do activities outdoors so that they can remain in an inside building," Mary Smith, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Waukesha County Manager told CBS 58.

Smith added the wildfire smoke has prompted her to advise staff to keep an eye out for those who could face difficulty with the poor air quality.

"We have our home delivered meals, volunteer drivers who deliver the meals daily and they check on individuals so if they do find a situation, they alert our staff and we then take measures to make sure that someone is safe," Smith said.

Clearer air is expected to move in by Friday, but wildfires in Canada continue to rage on. That means the threat of more days with poor air quality could return in the near future.

Share this article: