Mayor Scott, City Officials Caution Community as Canadian Wildfires Impact Baltimore’s Air Quality


Mayor Scott, City Officials Caution Community as Canadian Wildfires Impact Baltimore’s Air Quality

BALTIMORE, MD. (Wednesday, June 7, 2023) – Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and City health officials are advising residents that a Code Red Air Quality Alert (AQI) has been issued by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) as a result of the Canadian wildfires. City officials are monitoring the situation and urging residents to limit their outdoor exposure and take necessary precautions to safeguard their health and well-being.

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the wildfires in Canada have led to the release of a dense smoke, resulting in an extended exposure of concentrated smoke plumes that is working through Pennsylvania, New York and the eastern half of Maryland – expected to remain visible until the end of the week.

“The health and safety of our community are of utmost importance to us. It is crucial that residents stay informed about the current air quality conditions and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their loved ones,»  said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. «While we are expecting this to clear up by the end of the week, we strongly urge residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.”

Baltimore’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is 156, which is classified as unhealthy according to AirNow. Elevated pollution levels may be harmful to individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults and children with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

The following recommendations are strongly advised:

  • Stay informed: Residents are encouraged to stay updated with notifications from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for updates to air quality conditions.
  • Limit outdoor activity: With the elevated levels of air pollution, residents are urged to limit their outdoor activities, especially during periods of poor air quality. If possible, residents are to remain indoors with their windows and doors closed.
  • Be mindful of vulnerable populations: Check on neighbors, friends, and family members who may require assistance, particularly those who are elderly, have respiratory conditions or who have limited mobility.

The City of Baltimore is actively coordinating with relevant agencies to address the situation and provide necessary resources to the community. Regular updates on air quality conditions, safety guidelines, and available support services will be disseminated through official channels, including the city website, social media platforms, and local news outlets.

“Due to the issuance of a Code Red Air Quality alert by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) following the Canadian wildfires, the Baltimore City Health Department fully endorses MDE’s recommendations for all residents to limit outdoor exposure and stay indoors with windows closed”, said Acting Baltimore City Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller. “If you must go outdoors, in alignment with MDE recommendations, you should wear a mask.”

As an abundance of caution, city officials are recommending employees that work outdoors to wear a mask. Masking is optional and not required and city officials will distribute KN-95 face masks to city employees in need of one.