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Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Causes Haze Across Northern and Central Iowa

WINDSOR HEIGHTS – Fine particulate (PM2.5) levels near federal health standards are expected in northern and central Iowa today.  A plume of smoke originating from Canadian wildfires is passing southward through the state. This smoke plume caused a spike in fine particle levels in northern Iowa this morning that may last for several more hours.

The DNR recommends individuals in northern and central Iowa with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children limit prolonged outdoor exertion until the smoke plume passes and air quality conditions improve. Iowans can keep track of evolving air quality conditions at:  http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Air-Quality/Air-Quality-Index-AQI.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 24-hour health threshold for PM2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). 

As of 11 am, one-hour concentrations were above 36 µg/ m3 in much of northern and central Iowa. Hourly levels in Des Moines, Emmetsburg, Iowa City, Muscatine, and Cedar Rapids were 206, 152, 98, 80, and 62 µg/ m3 respectively.  Averages so far today for these sites are  16, 107, 30, 24, and 29 µg/ m3 respectively.  Levels are expected to drop later this afternoon or early this evening.

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