The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has forecasted an Air Quality Action Day (AQAD) for Tuesday, July 25 in parts of northern Indiana. Air quality is expected to reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange) level as indicated below.
IDEM is forecasting high levels of fine particles (PM2.5) due to smoke from Canadian wildfires in the following regions:
- North Central Indiana, including the cities of: Elkhart, Goshen, Knox, Logansport, Plymouth, Peru, South Bend, Warsaw, Winamac and all other cities within the area.
- Northeast Indiana, including the cities of: Angola, Auburn, Decatur, Fort Wayne, Hartford, Huntington City, LaGrange, Marion, Portland, Wabash and all other cities within the area.
- Northwest Indiana, including the cities of: Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, Kentland, LaPorte, Michigan City, Portage, Rensselaer, Valparaiso and all other cities within the area.
In addition, ozone levels are expected to be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range (Orange) on Tuesday in North Central Indiana and Northwest Indiana.
A state map including regions and affected counties is available at SmogWatch.IN.gov.
Note: IDEM forecasts are based, solely or in part, on data from air quality monitors located throughout the state. IDEM encourages residents of counties within or bordering the affected region(s) to heed the forecast. Air quality information for all Indiana counties can be found at SmogWatch.IN.gov.
Some municipalities have additional open burning restrictions on AQADs. For more information, see idem.IN.gov/openburning/laws-and-rules.
Air Quality Action Days are in effect from midnight to 11:59 p.m. (24-hours) on the specified date.
IDEM encourages everyone to help improve air quality by making changes to daily habits on Air Quality Action Days. You can:
- Carpool or use public transportation.
- Avoid using the drive-through and combine errands into one trip.
- Turn off engines instead of idling for long periods of time.
- Avoid using gas-powered equipment.
- Conserve energy by turning off lights and setting the air conditioner to a higher setting;
- Use propane gas instead of charcoal when grilling outdoors;
- Reminder: Indiana’s open burning laws make it illegal to burn trash and generally prohibit open burning, visit IN.gov/openburning for more information.
PM2.5 is composed of microscopic dust, soot, and liquid that settles deep into the lungs and cannot be easily exhaled. Those people at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high PM2.5 exposure. Sensitive Groups should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors during these conditions. IDEM examines weather patterns and PM2.5 readings to make daily air quality forecasts. Air Quality Action Days generally occur when weather conditions such as light winds, snow cover, higher humidity, and lower atmospheric inversions trap pollutants close to the ground.
Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather combine with vehicle exhaust, factory emissions, and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations.
Anyone sensitive to changes in air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.
IDEM examines weather patterns and current ozone readings to make daily air quality forecasts. Air Quality Action Days generally occur when weather conditions such as light winds, hot and dry air, stagnant conditions, or lower atmospheric inversions trap pollutants close to the ground.
To learn more about PM2.5 and ozone, or to sign up for air quality alerts, visit SmogWatch.IN.gov.