Air quality improves for millions as Canadian wildfire smoke begins to move out

At one point on Tuesday, nearly 70 million Americans were under air quality alerts because of the smoke. By Wednesday morning, that number dropped significantly to around 17 million.

Millions of people from the West to Northeast and Southeast are starting to breathe a little easier on Wednesday as thick plumes of smoke from wildfires burning in Canada begin to move out of the U.S.

At one point on Tuesday, nearly 70 million Americans were under air quality alerts because of the smoke. Hazy skylines were once again spotted around Boston and around the Great Lakes, with smoke effects felt as far south as Georgia.

By Wednesday morning, the number in poor air quality dropped significantly, with only pockets of air quality alerts remaining across the U.S. By Wednesday afternoon, all air quality alerts were dropped.


Where is the air quality bad right now?

Most of the eastern half of the U.S. is seeing "good" to "moderate" air quality levels. However, lingering "unhealthy" levels have been reported in parts of Georgia. 

Air quality levels on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.
(FOX Weather)



The Air Quality Index (AQI) ranges from 0 to 500, with smaller values indicating cleaner air and any readings above 300 being hazardous.

When is the smoke going away?

A lot of relief arrived on Wednesday as this current plume blows out to sea. 

But according to the FOX Forecast Center, there is no indication that the smoke will disappear completely anytime soon. The wildfires burning in Canada continue to burn out of control. Therefore, plumes of smoke will continue to filter into the U.S. from time to time as the weather patterns change and winds will help to shift the smoke into different regions.

How many fires are burning in Canada?

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, there are 885 wildfires burning across Canada. In total, those fires have scorched more than 27 million acres of land.

The CIFFC reported that 556 fires are burning out of control, 198 are under control and 121 are being held.

Most of the fires burning are now located in British Columbia in western Canada.

So far in 2023, the CIFFC reports 4,240 fires have burned across the country.