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Canada wildfire smoke pours into Newport, causing poor air quality over the weekend

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Photo by Chris Steele.
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NEWPORT — An air quality alert was issued for several Vermont counties due to fine particle pollution from Quebec wildfire smoke, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources announced Saturday.

An air quality action day means that particulate concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.

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The alert remained in effect from 1 p.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. this morning, and applied to Grand Isle, Franklin, Orleans, Essex, Chittenden, Lamoille, Caledonia, Washington, and Addison counties.

The air quality index in these areas exceed the Orange, or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” category.

The ANR says that communities near the Canadian border may still experience conditions deteriorating into the Red, or “Unhealthy for All Groups” category, but that the air quality is expected to continue clearing throughout the week thanks to a southerly wind.

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The weekend advisory called for all residents in the alert area to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion and to take more breaks during outdoor activities. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children and teenagers were particularly at risk.

It was advised that outdoor activity levels be moderated, with more breaks taken and less intense activities pursued.

Asthma patients are still advised to follow their action plans and keep quick-relief medicine at hand. Heart disease patients should watch for symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath or unusual fatigue, and contact their healthcare provider if any of these symptoms occur.

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