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Air Quality Advisory in Effect for Wisconsin: Learn How to Monitor Air Quality Index This Weekend

Canadian wildfire smoke to reach southern Wisconsin, air quality advisory issued.

Milwaukee experienced a week-long period in June where it was enveloped in a dense cloud of smoke from Canadian wildfires. This article provides an overview of the situation and offers insights into what it looked like from both ground and aerial perspectives.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued an air quality advisory due to the approaching Canadian wildfire smoke, which is expected to reach Wisconsin by noon on Friday. While the smoke and haze are not anticipated to be as thick as they were last month, they could still reach unhealthy levels on Friday and Saturday, particularly in southern Wisconsin.

The smoke is projected to move in a northwest to southeast direction throughout the weekend. According to the DNR's forecast, it will reach northwest Wisconsin by Friday afternoon and southern Wisconsin by Saturday. The smoke contains particles known as PM2.5, which are extremely harmful to human health. These particles are expected to reach the unsafe level for sensitive groups (orange) on the air quality index. However, the advisory warns that the smoke may persist for a longer duration in southern Wisconsin, potentially reaching even more hazardous levels (red).

The advisory is expected to end by noon on Sunday for northern Wisconsin. However, the DNR cautions that southern Wisconsin may continue to experience poor air quality beyond that time. This is due to the lingering smoke and its impact on the region.

Eastern provinces of Canada, including Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, have been significantly affected by large and sometimes uncontrollable fires this year. As of Friday, there are 906 active fires across the country, with 572 classified as out of control and 227 under control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. British Columbia has reported the highest number of active fires (356), followed by Quebec (140) and Alberta (121).

Given the potential for unhealthy air quality, individuals in sensitive groups, such as older adults, those with heart or lung conditions, children, and outdoor workers, are advised to limit their outdoor activities and take regular breaks. In areas where the air quality index reaches the red level, it is recommended that everyone reduces their outdoor activity. The DNR also suggests closing windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering homes.

Hourly updates on air quality maps are available at for those seeking more information.

Please note that Beck Andrew Selgado of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel contributed to this report.

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