Indiana issues air quality alert due to wildfires

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's environmental agency issued a statewide air quality alert urging Hoosiers to slow down and take other steps as smoke wafts across the state from wildfires burning in the western U.S. and Canada.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said Wednesday it issued the air quality alert for Wednesday and Thursday because of microscopic smoke particles from the wildfires. That smoke has blanketed much of the continent, including thousands of miles away on the East Coast.

IDEM encouraged Hoosiers to reduce how much time they spend outside doing various activities, and to avoid exercising near busy roadways. The agency also urged people to avoid burning wood or making other unnecessary fires and to also avoid using gasoline-powered equipment or gas-powered recreational vehicles.

IDEM spokesman Barry Sneed said the state agency did not plan to issue another air quality alert for Friday because it is expecting moderate air quality conditions that day.

“However, since the impacts associated with the wildfires will be ongoing for some time, IDEM will continue to assess the impacts on Indiana’s air quality on a day-by-day basis," he said Thursday.

Growing research points to potential long-term health damage from breathing in microscopic particles of smoke, with millions of people potentially at risk far from where huge fires burn.

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