Experts: Western wildfires can easily impact Tri-State air quality

Wildfire season is off to a fast start this year
Posted at 8:02 AM, Apr 29, 2022

Wildfires have already burned more than 1 million acres in the United States since the start of 2022. This time last year, only around 400,000 acres were scorched.

According to experts, the wildfires out west can easily impact the Tri-State due to smoke being picked up and moved through the atmosphere.

The seasonal drought outlook shows drought conditions will persist for much of the country west of the Mississippi River, now through the end of July. Above average temperatures for those areas are expected as well.

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Dr. Maria Mirabelli, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, said now is the time to prepare.

"Information about current and forecasted air quality is available, and some sources of information even include maps to show where smoke plumes are located," she said. "Knowing what their quality will be like and whether wildfire smoke might affect the community can help people prepare to limit their exposure to smoke."

Smoke can cause stinging eyes, breathing trouble, chest pain, headaches, and other symptoms, especially for folks with sensitive lungs. Experts suggest those who work outside wear a mask if the air quality in the area is impacted by the fires.