It may look a little better today, but as of this morning, Montclair is still in the purple “very unhealthy” zone for air quality as a result of the Canadian wildfires. Smoke and haze is expected to worsen again late Thursday, according to National Weather Service forecast.
Gov. Phil Murphy urged residents Wednesday to “stay safe, limit strenuous activities, and reduce the amount of time spent outdoors.” State offices closed early Wednesday due to the worsening air quality conditions.
Murphy said his team was in close coordination with the State Department of Environmental Protection and monitoring the effects of the Canadian wildfires. Wednesday was the worst air quality day for the state in 43 years. In New York, a Yankees game on Wednesday was cancelled due to smoke from the wildfires. People in both states dug out their N95 masks again, this time to prevent inhaling the tiny wildfire particulates in the air. The FAA also had to slow flights to Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday due to the poor visibility.
— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) June 8, 2023
Montclair Public Schools on Thursday morning shortened the school day for students and cancelled all after-school and evening activities due to the hazardous air quality conditions. Some New Jersey schools and colleges chose to go remote Thursday.
The chart below describes the different air quality levels:
The New Jersey Dept. of Health recommends these actions to protect health on poor air quality days:
Sensitive populations (which includes the elderly, infants and young children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or chronic bronchitis) should remain indoors.
Individuals with asthma: Poor air quality may trigger asthma attacks.
Individuals with respiratory diseases: Follow physician’s recommendations and respiratory management plan.
People in general should avoid strenuous activities and limit the amount of time they are active outdoors.
For people who work outdoors or need to be outside:
Take more breaks indoors if possible
Shorten the length and intensity of any physical activity
The most effective way to prevent breathing harmful particles from wildfire smoke is to stay indoors with windows and doors closed.
If an air conditioner is available, run it while keeping the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
When outdoor air quality is poor, do not use candles and fireplaces which could add to indoor air pollution. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke tobacco or other products, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. People who must be outside can have some protection from an N95 mask if worn properly.