DETROIT – For days, smoke traveling from wildfires burning in Canada has affected air quality in Michigan, and even more so in states further east.
On Thursday, hundreds of wildfires burned in Canada across Nova Scotia, Quebec and parts of Ontario. Though western Canada is more prone to wildfires, as is the western U.S., the eastern sides of both countries have been dealing with the blazes and their effects.
In Metro Detroit, an air quality alert has been in place for several days due to higher concentrations of pollutants, or fine particles, in the air. Air quality in Southeast Michigan has been particularly unhealthy for those in “sensitive groups” -- such as children, older adults, and those with asthma or respiratory issues.
An air quality alert remained in place until 12:15 p.m. on Friday, June 9 -- though the alert could be extended a bit later into Friday. But, after Friday, air quality is expected to improve in Michigan.
Metro Detroit smoke forecast
Smoke still remained in the Michigan air on Friday morning. The air quality was in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range early Friday morning, and was expected to remain around that level for much of the day.
Air quality was expected to get a bit worse heading into Friday afternoon. Data indicated that the layer of smoke was expected to get thicker in Metro Detroit by about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Friday.
During an air quality alert, people are encouraged to stay indoors as much as possible, and to limit opening doors and windows and outdoor activities.
Conditions should begin improving later Friday, and a huge improvement is expected by Saturday. The smoke will move east on Friday, and largely dissipate in our area by Saturday.
You can see radar images of the moving smoke in the video player up above.
The wildfires themselves, which are fueled by an unusually dry and warm spring period in Canada, were expected to continue burning for the time being. In Quebec, no rain is expected until next week, and temperatures were predicted to rise in the coming days.
Particulate matter from the wildfires has blown as far as North Carolina and northern Europe, though the northeastern U.S. has been among the hardest hit by the smoke. President Joe Biden said he spoke with Canada’s prime minister and offered “any additional help Canada needs to rapidly accelerate the effort to put out these fires.”