Unhealthy Smoke From Canadian Forest Fires Pushes Into Polk County
Last night (8/31/2017) and into today (9/1/2017), a plume of smoke originating from Canada wildfires pushed into the state resulting in unusually high fine particulate levels in central Iowa.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 24-hour health threshold for PM2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). Hourly concentrations have been recorded by Polk County in central Iowa that indicate an exceedance of the public health standard. As of 7AM the average PM2.5 is 70 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3).
EPA uses a simple color scale to further categorize air quality. Daily average concentrations between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m3 fall into EPA’s Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange) category. When air quality is in the orange range, asthmatics, individuals with heart or lung disease, as well as the elderly and children may experience adverse health effects. Concentrations between 55.5 and 150.4 µg/ m3 fall into EPA’s Unhealthy (red) category. When air quality is in the red range, everyone may experience adverse health effects. More information about EPA’s air quality index (AQI) is available at: /airquality/air-quality-monitoring/
Although there is lingering smoke aloft over central Iowa, it is likely to dissipate quickly and air quality is expected to be in the good (green) or moderate (yellow) category for the remainder of the day and tonight.