Smoke from wildfires in Canada may be “toxic,” making the sun appear red in CT, officials say

By | June 6, 2023

Smoke from the Canadian wildfires is affecting Connecticut’s air quality again, making it unhealthy for sensitive groups this week, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has warned.

In its daily Air Quality Index forecast, DEEP said it expects smoke from the Quebec fires to elevate fine particulate matter, or very small particles of solid matter or liquid droplets, to levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

DEEP issued an air quality advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

“The chemicals in and on the particulate matter can also be toxic,” DEEP said. “Very fine particulate matter can be inhaled deep into the lungs.”

In southern Connecticut, the NWS said the air quality alert will remain in effect through Wednesday night.

“Levels of fine particulate matter will become unhealthy for the sensitive group category across the state today and Wednesday and likely to last into the evening hours of both days due to smoke carry from eastern Canadian wildfires,” the service said. weather.

For northern Connecticut, the NWS said the alert will remain in effect through Tuesday night.

Because smoke makes the sun appear red

The smoke has blanketed the sky in a thick blanket and is drifting south, while the sun has an orange and red tinge.

Smoke from the Canadian wildfires is affecting Connecticut's air quality again and made the sun appear reddish in Stamford Tuesday morning.

Smoke from the Canadian wildfires is affecting Connecticut’s air quality again and made the sun appear reddish in Stamford Tuesday morning.

Jordan Nathaniel Fenster / Hearst Connecticut Media

The bright color of the sun is caused by smoke in an effect known as Mie diffusion. Sunlight bounces off these particles, which are larger than the typical molecule in the atmosphere, lengthening their wavelengths and altering color, according to John Cristalello, a chief meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s New York office.

These colors are especially vivid when the sun is lowest in the sky, Cristantello added.

Impact on people with heart and lung disease

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