Why you should avoid refueling your car or grilling during unhealthy air quality

Some activities like mowing your lawn or fueling your car can exasperate air quality problems and should be avoided during the current wildfire conditions.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the air quality is unhealthy due to smoke or pollution, there are certain activities to avoid to help protect you and your family, including getting gasoline and grilling outside.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires has cascaded into the U.S., creating unhealthy air quality alerts for millions in the Northeast and Great Lakes. The smoke is making its way as far south as Tennessee where the Air Quality Index is moderate on Wednesday. 

Some activities can exacerbate air quality problems and should be avoided, including using gas-powered tools and equipment, such as cutting your grass with the lawn mower.

Even lighter fluid at the backyard grill can worsen your conditions when wildfire smoke is present in the air.

It's also best to avoid stopping at the gas pump with your vehicle, unless you really need to, when the air quality is not healthy for certain groups of people.

The fumes you breathe at the gas pump can lead to ozone formation, contributing to air quality issues.

Tips to prevent smoke from entering your home, vehicle

FOX Weather Meteorologist Britta Merwin said you could treat wildfire smoke like high pollen days.

When you venture out, take a shower and change your clothes when you come home. 

Placing a wet towel at the bottom of doorways and windowsills to the outside will also help absorb smoke trying to come into your home.

"If you’re one that uses a window (air conditioner) unit, don’t turn on your A/C," Merwin said. "If you live in a big apartment building in New York City, you’re going to be fine with your A/C running. I’m talking about the folks in Upstate New York that might have an A/C unit in their window -- that’s going to bring in the smoke into your home."

Merwin said high smoke days are a good time to use the recycled air in your car.

"When you’re driving in your car, recycle your air -- the button with the arrow? Hit that, because you don’t want to bring in the air from the outside," Merwin said.