The weather that has brought smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada to Warren County is probably going to change over the weekend.

The county remained under a statewide Code Orange Air Quality Action Day from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Friday.

According to DEP, “Children, sensitive populations such as older people, those who exercise or work outdoors and those with lung or respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis should reduce or eliminate their outdoor activities.”

“Smoke due to wildfires in eastern Canada will likely contribute to daily average concentrations of fine particulate matter in the Code Orange range on Friday,” according to DEP. “Changing weather conditions compared to earlier in the week are making conditions better. Residents are encouraged to check www.airnow.gov for current conditions in their area.”

While the county was part of the state action, local air quality conditions were in the “good” range on Friday.

“For the vast majority of Warren residents at this time, I foresee little concern,” Warren General Hospital Medical Director Dr. Keith Price said. “In central and southeastern Pennsylvania, their numbers are significantly higher.”

For those who are sensitive and concerned, Price has some recommendations.

“If folks are very sensitive to smoke and smog, staying indoors might be a good option, along with having a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) on their air-conditioning unit, as well as using an N-95 mask when outdoors,” he said.

“The significance of such pollution is measured by the air quality index (AQI) which ranges from 1 to 500,” Price said.

There were a few locations in Pennsylvania where the air quality was over 100 on Friday afternoon. Earlier in the week, there were several areas – particulars in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the state – over 200.

The scale, with impacts, is:

¯ good (0-50) – Minimal Impact

¯ satisfactory (51-100) — May cause minor breathing difficulties in sensitive people.

¯ moderately polluted (101-200) — May cause breathing difficulties in people with lung disease like asthma, and discomfort to people with heart disease, children and older adults.

¯ poor (201-300) — May cause breathing difficulties in people on prolonged exposure, and discomfort to people with heart disease

¯ very Poor (301-400) — May cause respiratory illness in people on prolonged exposure. Effect may be more pronounced in people with lung and heart diseases.

¯ severe (401-500) — May cause respiratory issues in healthy people, and serious health issues in people with lung/heart disease. Difficulties may be experienced even during light physical activity.

For now, Price is not recommending any particular defensive actions on the part of those who are not particularly sensitive to air quality issues. “Our weather is quite changeable, so I might be changing my tune on my level of caution from these wildfires,” he said. “But, for now, get out and enjoy the beauty of Warren County.”



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