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Wildfires in Canada expected to affect air quality until October

The Office of Sustainability issued the 18th Knozone Action Day in Indianapolis.
Knozone Action Day
Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-17 23:31:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS— Monday marked the 18th Knozone Action Day issued by the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability.

"You can tell that you’re taking deeper breaths," said Kerry Disinger who lives in Indiana.

This summer Disinger is paying closer attention to the air quality.

"I have asthma so of course I watch it all the time. High allergen days I tend to not be outside as much, so on the days that the weathers been extremely bad I’ve been staying in the house and using the air condition more," said Disinger.

According to date from the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, this is the second most Knozone Action Days issued in recent years. In 2012, there were 21 days with poor air quality.

"It's concerning. We don't usually have quite this many," said Lindsay Trameri with the Office of Sustainability.

Last year there were only eight Knozone Action Days. Monday, Indianapolis was in the Orange Zone meaning it's unhealthy for sensitive groups. The Circle City saw the Red Zone just a few weeks ago when it was unhealthy for everyone.

"We’re talking smoke. We usually can get a couple of those a year especially around the 4th of July because of all the fireworks happening, but we’ve had many, many this year and some of the worst air quality Indy's ever had," said Trameri.

Trameri says we'll keep seeing unhealthy air quality days every couple of weeks. She estimates we'll see smoke until at least October.

"It’s almost like if New York and California were on fire and there were lots of fires in between. No one is exactly the same and so they can’t be put them out in the same ways, and some of them are out of control to the point where it is just needing to wait until it snows or rains up in the northern regions of Canada," said Trameri.

For Disinger and those classified in the sensitive groups, it's not news they want to hear.

"I could have way worse asthma than I do. It's at least tolerable for me, but I have family members that have obstructive bronchitis and they can’t go outside at all. I mean it totally limits them being able to leave the house for days at of time, so that’s the people I feel bad for but we can’t control it," said Disinger.

The Office of Sustainability is recommending people sign up from air quality text alerts or download the AirNow app which is run by the EPA.

Officials also say if you are going to wear a mask it should be a KN95 or N95.