The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has issued warnings of poor air quality in Delaware. Air quality that is unhealthy or very unhealthy is predicted Wednesday, June 7 and Thursday, June 8 by DNREC, and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Public Health (DPH) has advised all individuals to limit prolonged or heavy physical activity and time spent outdoors and to stay indoors, preferably in a space with filtered air.
Wildfires in eastern Canada are emitting particulate matter into the atmosphere, affecting air quality throughout the northeast, including in Delaware. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides an Air Quality Index with color codes to inform the public about conditions and how to avoid health effects associated with poor air quality. DNREC has declared a Code Red Action Day for particulate matter for Wednesday, June 7 and Thursday, June 8. These alerts warn of unhealthy particle pollution levels. DNREC also warned effects from the smoke may at times cause purple conditions, meaning the air quality is very unhealthy.
Particle pollution can affect anyone, but it bothers some people more than others. DNREC and DPH have provided the following guidance:
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity. While people with respiratory conditions should stay inside, make sure they have their inhaler or medicine.
- Wear a properly fitted (fit tested) N95 for those who must go outside for long periods of time. Typical masks such as cloth, surgical, or KN95 will not provide adequate protection from poor air quality from particulate matter. The best protection is to remain indoors in a cool and clean environment.
- Avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and even candles.
- Avoid spraying aerosol products.
- Avoid frying or broiling meat.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes.
- Don’t vacuum while air quality remains unhealthy or very unhealthy since it stirs up particles already inside your home.
- Reduce the amount of smoke and particulate matter in your vehicles by keeping the windows and vents closed, and, if available, operating the air conditioning in “recirculate” mode.
- Continue to check the air quality for the coming days and sign up for air quality alerts at de.gov/aqi.
- Access real-time data and interactive maps on current conditions at airnow.gov.
DPH warns that certain populations—including young children, older adults, and those with lung conditions—could be more significantly impacted. While canceling outdoor events is not necessary, it is advisable to relocate indoors when possible. Individuals should make health decisions in consultation with their medical professionals and based on their own considerations.