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Canada wildfire smoke stretches low across U.S., far as North Florida

Raging wildfires in Canada have sent smoke rolling across the U.S., negatively impacting air quality in cities as far south as North Florida. 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Fire and Smoke map rated Jacksonville’s air quality as “moderate” as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, an improvement from yesterday. 

The air was visibly hazy Tuesday night, and the EPA warned that air quality could be unhealthy for people who are “unusually sensitive.” However, it’s nowhere close to the almost-apocalyptic orange that shrouded New York City looked last month. Today, Jacksonville’s air quality is on the mend. 

What’s cause for concern with wildfire smoke is fine particle pollution, known as PM2.5, the Associated Press reported. PM2.5 can penetrate through the lungs and further enter the body through the bloodstream, affecting all major organs, according to the World Health Organization.

What the map means

The EPA monitors air quality and creates an air quality index, called an AQI, which rates how clean or polluted the air is each day. The index is a numerical scale that runs from zero to 500. 

The zero to 100 range, marked by green or yellow, means that the air is pretty clear. The higher the number, the worse the air quality. When it hits orange, it could be a concern for groups like children, older adults and those with health conditions. Red and purple, not shown on the map above, mean the air quality is unhealthy for everyone. 

Air quality conditions in Jacksonville are expected to improve as the week progresses, News4Jax reported. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre website reported 885 active fires on Wednesday, of which 566 are out of control. 


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Carter Mudgett
Carter Mudgett, Reporter
Carter Mudgett is a University of North Florida student majoring in multimedia journalism. He was Spinnaker's editor-in-chief from August 2021 to December 2023. Carter led Spinnaker to be awarded a 2023 Online Pacemaker Award, and most recently placed second in the Society of Professional Journalists's Sunshine State Awards for "Best Coverage of LGBT Issues" in the college category. Backed by a passion for creative storytelling and accurate reporting, Carter typically covers education, gender and race issues.

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