Vermont's Air Quality Alert Extended, Then Canceled, With Haze From Western Fires
Updated 10:35 a.m. 7/27/2021
For the second time in two weeks, Vermonters noticed strange skies over much of the state on Monday. Hazy fog obscured mountains, and the sun shone a striking pink.
Eerie orange sun over Winooski this morning from the wildfire smoke. pic.twitter.com/LsDJ7u6FLD— Andrea Suozzo (@asuozzo) July 26, 2021
An air quality alert issued by state officials through the National Weather Service on Monday, July 26 was initially extended through Tuesday, the 27th, as fine particulates from fires in Manitoba, Canada filled the sky. The alert was then canceled Tuesday morning.
"Air quality improved to 'moderate' particulate matter concentrations overnight, thankfully, and is not expected to return to unhealthy levels again today," said Bennet Leon, who’s with the Air Quality & Climate Division at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
On Monday, the conditions extended from the Rutland area through the Northeast Kingdom. Originally, Tuesday's alert had applied to Bennington and Windham counties.
In most of the affected areas, air quality was categorized as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”
“There [was] a health concern for elderly people and children, [and] people with respiratory ailments,” Leon said.
In other areas, air quality was categorized as “unhealthy,” which means all people should take note before doing outdoor activities, particularly strenuous ones.
Wildfires out west caused similar conditions a week ago. Leon told VPR at the time that it’s unusual to see elevated pollution levels in Vermont from fires burning so far away.
“We often see... smoke from wildfires pass over Vermont at high altitudes that don’t affect the air quality down near the surface where people are breathing,” he said.
VPR's Reed Nye contributed reporting.