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As The West Burns, Smoke And Poor Air Quality Plagues The Northeast

smoke fire
Image by Matthias Groeneveld from Pixabay

There have been several air quality alerts across the Northeast due to wildfires in the West. The haze and smoke in the air can pose health risks for children, older residents and anyone with lung or heart conditions.

Mark Wysocki, who teaches meteorology at Cornell University, said when trees burn, chemicals are released from the heated sap into the atmosphere, along with tiny particles of soot.

“Because they’re small, they’re able to get through your nose and your mouth down deep into your lung and they attach themselves to the lung. And that reduces your ability to breathe,” Wysocki said.

Poor air quality can also worsen asthma and heart disease.

Wysocki said residents should check the Air Quality Index to see what it’s like in their area. If the air quality is yellow or orange on the map, vulnerable people should stay indoors. Red means everyone needs to take precautions.