Officials with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health provided an update on the air quality throughout the state Wednesday afternoon, as smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to pour into the region.

The departments issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the Long Island, New York City Metro, Lower Hudson Valley, Upper Hudson Valley, Eastern Lake Ontario, Central New York and Western New York regions for Thursday over concerns over fine particulate matter in the air. 

State DOH Commissioner Dr. James McDonald says if residents need to go outdoors, particularly in Central New York, wearing a mask is recommended. 

“If you have to go outside, if you’re in Central New York right now, where the air quality is really just in a very hazardous state right now, that’s where you would wear a mask in particular,” he said.

McDonald says he is recommending outdoor masking for those in areas with air quality indexes above 300 to keep the air in your lungs clean. Officials say you can check the air quality in your ZIP code by going to

“For my friends in Central New York right now, when I look at your air quality index numbers, I really would prefer folks stay inside right now," McDonald said.

State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says conditions that will continue to bring smoke into the state is expected to continue Thursday and Friday. 

McDonald says a person who is relatively healthy may not notice a difference right away in the change of air quality, but if you begin coughing or feeling shortness of breath that it could be a signal of poor air quality conditions. He says long-term exposure to air pollution could lead to lung infection, pneumonia, bronchitis or an exacerbation of synonyms for those with asthma.

Officials say fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

“It certainly is unprecedented,” Seggos said. “At least since 2002, it’s the worst air we’ve seen.”


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