BOSTON, MA - JULY 26: Heavy smoke settles around Fenway Park from wildfires out West during the game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on July 26, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

When you see a headline like Canadian Wildfires: How To Breathe Safe, one would say, but I’m in New England

It didn’t matter, until now. Those pesky Canadian wildfire winds are blowing south, right into our neighborhood. Normally, the smoky haze we see could be from a hazy, hot and humid summer day. Not today. It’s actually smoke. THAT could be why your eyes, are itchy. and your throat maybe scratchy.

In New England, you can see the haze, mostly from the highways, where our long view is non obstructed. BUT, in New York, and New Jersey, daytime looks like night, and the New York skyline looks like 1970’s LA.

When Will It Clear?

CBS News reports:

As dense smoke from wildfires burning in Canada continued to blanket parts of the U.S. on Wednesday from Minnesota to Massachusetts, and as far south as North Carolina, forecasts suggest air quality will not improve substantially for a few more days.

“We have been in a blocked pattern across North America all week long,” Jen Carfagno, a Weather Channel meteorologist, told CBS News in an email. “That kept an area of upper level low pressure stuck over the Northeast. The flow around the low pressure has been guiding wildfire smoke from Quebec into the Northeast, Great Lakes, and even Ohio Valley and down in the mid-Atlantic.”

So in other words, the weather pattern has to change to blow out the smoke.

We’ve held our breath long enough. Thanks to our friends at the American Lung Association, we found a list of tips on how to breathe safe. Certainly, it’s not as bad here, as it is in Canada. But, these are tip worth looking at.

  • Monitor Air Quality

    Monitor your air quality forecast: Media outlets report on local air quality conditions year-round, or you can go to EPA’s Air Now website. Keeping track of the current air quality information can help you know when to take steps to protect yourself from unhealthy levels of air pollution from wildfires and other sources.

  • Stay In

    People living close to the fire-stricken areas should remain indoors, unless prompted by local officials to evacuate. All residents living in air quality impacted areas should avoid breathing smoke, ashes and other pollution.

  • Don't Exercise Outside

    If you live close to or in the affected areas, don’t exercise outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation.

  • Should I Wear A Mask?

    Ordinary dust masks, designed to filter out large particles, and cloth facial coverings will not sufficiently protect your lungs. Use a N-95 or P-100 respirator, designed to filter out damaging fine particles. These masks must be fitted properly and can make it more difficult to breathe and should only be used if you must go outside. If you have lung disease, consult with your doctor before using a N95 mask. 

  • What About My Kids?

     Extra precautions should be taken for children, who are more susceptible to smoke. Their lungs are still developing, and they breathe in more air (and consequently more pollution) than adults. N-95 masks should not be used for children because they will likely not fit properly.

  • What If I Have To Drive Near Smoke?

     When driving your car in smoky areas, keep your windows and vents closed, and operate on “recirculate” setting, including when using air conditioning. 

  • What About My In Home Circulation?

    Stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut and preferably with clean air circulating through air conditioners and air cleaners. Use air conditioners on the recirculation setting to keep from pulling outside air into the room. Air cleaning devices that have HEPA filters can provide added protection from the soot and smoke. Place damp towels under the doors and other places where the outside air may leak in.

  • Prepare Your Home

     If you do not need to evacuate, prepare to keep wildfire smoke outside of at least one room of your home where you can close off outside air and set up a portable air cleaner. Learn how to create a clean room

  • What I have Lung Disease Or Diabetes?

    Pay close attention to any changes in your condition or new symptoms and check in with your doctor regarding any changes in medication that may be needed during the smoky conditions.  For a complete list of recommendations to protect lung health during wildfires, see this handy Wildfire Preparedness Flyer. This information is also available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Russian. 
    Further information on respiratory health during wildfires can be found at and a dedicated Spanish language page at

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