For Immediate Release
Posted: July 20, 2021


Jeff Underhill
(603) 271-1102

NHDES Declares Smoke Advisory

Elevated Particle Air Pollution Advisory Issued for Tuesday Afternoon Through Wednesday Morning

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting concentrations of fine particle air pollution from smoke to reach levels that could cause respiratory health effects for sensitive individuals throughout the state Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. NHDES officials advise sensitive individuals (including children, older adults, and anyone with heart or lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis) or is especially sensitive to smoke to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged exposure and exertion, especially outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged activities. Concentrations of particles are expected to peak during afternoon and evening hours. Particle concentrations from this smoke could reach levels that are unhealthy for sensitive individuals through tomorrow afternoon at higher terrain elevations.

The particle air pollution event is the result of extensive wildfires in central & western Canada and the northwestern United States. Current wind patterns are transporting waves of smoke from these fires across much of the country, including New Hampshire. In addition to the health effects, these smoke plumes diffract light causing a hazy appearance in the sky and reducing visibility of distant objects. Air quality is expected to improve on Wednesday as winds are forecast to move the smoke plumes out of the area. Forecasted rain will further help to clean the air by "washing out" some of the particle pollution.

The severity of the health effects increases as fine particle concentrations increase. Symptoms of particle pollution exposure may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. People with asthma and other existing lung diseases may not be able to breathe as deeply or vigorously as normal and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath.

For further information, contact NHDES at (603) 271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the NHDES Air Quality Current Data website.