“School air” just got ten times worse

When Alberta officials declared the first local state of emergency concerning the wildfires in Canada on May 4, 2023, not many expected it to become a continental issue. As the cloud of smoke traveled down the East Coast, citizens reported experiencing overcast skies and air tainted with a burning smell.

In states like New York, the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached as high as 405 on Wednesday, June 7. Reports of orange, hazy skies blanketing the city have been compared to a dystopia. 

Though the smoky air began rolling in as early as Tuesday afternoon, most residents of the Howard County area didn’t notice a difference until the morning of Wednesday, when they awoke to an unusually high AQI report. As the warnings continued over the course of the day and following morning, some students began wearing masks as a precautionary measure.

In response to the alerts issued by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Howard County Public School System canceled all county-sanctioned outdoor activities through Friday, June 9.


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