Unhealthy air quality levels from wildfire smoke – Extended through Friday, June 9*
Wednesday June 7, 2023
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has issued an air quality alert in 28 southern Michigan counties including Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties. *updated 6/8/2023
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has issued an air quality alert in 28 southern Michigan counties covering much of the SE portion of the state for Wednesday June 7
and Thursday June 8. *Extended to 2:45 pm June 9*
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Air Quality Index indicates that PM 2.5 is at “red” to “orange” or unhealthy levels across much of Michigan’s lower peninsula, especially for sensitive populations.
For people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and teens it is suggested to take the following steps to reduce exposure:
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
- Keep outdoor activities short.
- Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.
For everyone else:
- Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
- Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
- Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
Live color-coded air quality conditions that indicate if air quality is healthy (green) or unhealthy (yellow, orange, and red) along with steps to protect your health can be found at the AirNow website and mobile app.
As of 11 a.m. on June 7, the Michigan Syndromic Surveillance System has not indicated a detectable change in reported emergency department (ED) visits related to air or asthma. The MDHHS Environmental Health Surveillance Section will continue to monitor and provide updated syndromic surveillance reports if there is an increase in ED visits.
Additional information related to poor air quality and wildfire hazards:
The current unhealthy levels of particulate matter are likely coming from wildfires burning in Canada that are causing smoke to move over parts of Michigan. In general, the health threats from wildfire smoke relate mainly to the particles that are suspended in the air, especially the smaller particles like PM 2.5 that can more easily get into a person’s lungs (EPA – Health Effects Attributed to Wildfire Smoke). The health effects of particle pollution exposure can range from relatively minor (e.g., eye and respiratory tract irritation) to more serious health effects (e.g., exacerbation of asthma and heart failure, and premature death). Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke. (CDC – Wildfire Smoke). However, wildfire smoke can make anyone sick. Even someone who is healthy can get sick if there is enough smoke in the air. For more general health and safety tips if you are in an area with unhealthy air quality visit, CDC – Wildfire Smoke.
Michigan is currently experiencing unprecedented hot and dry conditions for this time of year, causing extreme fire danger. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recommends these actions to reduce the risk of wildfire:
- Never leave a fire unattended, even for a moment.
- Check first to see if conditions permit open burning at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit.
- Always put fires out completely with water. Drench, stir with a shovel and drench again.
- Don't park hot equipment over dry grass on the roadside, which can ignite.
- More information is available at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.
Notice provided by the Michigan Health Alert Network