The EPA’s AirNow app gives users real-time air quality data in their zip code.
As forest fires from Quebec send plumes of smoke across most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, nearly all of Maryland’s counties are under air quality alerts. In response to increasing instances of air quality issues nationally, the EPA has developed the AirNow app, which provides users with a one-stop source for air quality data. The app is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service (NPS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and tribal, state (including the Maryland Department of the Environment – MDE), and local air quality agencies. The app can be downloaded to your smartphone by searching AirNow or can be accessed online at https://www.airnow.gov/.
Understanding the Air Quality Index:
The EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is expressed via colors ranging from green to maroon, with a value assigned between 0 (highest air quality) and 500 (most toxic air quality). Green (0-50) and yellow (51-100) are healthy to relatively healthy air quality. Orange (101-150) means the quality should be fine for the general public, but sensitive groups such as the elderly or individuals with asthma may experience issues. Red (151-200), Purple (201-300), & Maroon (301-500) indicate that the air quality is at levels that all groups should avoid.
For Wednesday June 7th & Thursday June 8th most of Maryland is forecast to have Orange and Red air quality, hopefully with an easing toward yellow over the weekend. Notably, Western Maryland seems to be the least impacted by the wildfire smoke.