Canadian wildfire smoke is creating unhealthy air quality throughout the Pittsburgh area

A different world than it was 24 hours ago. Clear air over Beaver on Tuesday gave way to a blanket of fog on Wednesday.

Travis Griffith of Beaver Falls described it as “burning in your nose and throat.”

From all corners of the district, Canadian wildfires cast a blanket of smoke.

“I’ve heard about it, but I’ve never seen it, smelled it. It’s worse today,” Griffith said.

According to doctors, most people are not going to be affected by air quality. Certain sensitive groups, including children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, should be cautious.

“Even then, it usually takes more than passing outside. If you’re in that group, avoid prolonged contact or heavy work outside,” said UPMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Donald Yeli.

Air advocates say today should be a wake-up call to address the root cause of why we’re seeing an air quality problem. They fear this won’t be the last time we have such a problem.

“We can expect wildfires to continue in their intensity and frequency due to climate change and the burning of fossil fuels,” said Patrick Campbell, executive director of the Group Against Smoke and Pollution.

There were points where parts of Beaver County reached purple air standards, considered extremely unhealthy for everyone.

“If we don’t change where we’re going, it’s actually going to get worse than this,” Breathe Project Executive Director Matthew Mehalik said via Zoom.

There are some questions about wearing masks during pandemics. Doctors say you can use them if you want. They recommend not using a homemade one for this.

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“It’s not a yes or no issue. It’s how much protection. I would stay away from home preparation. Stick with the professional, if you can, get an N95. It’s the best choice,” said Dr. Yeli.

When we have this air, it is recommended to use AC in your home and recirculate the air in your car.

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