Linn County Air Quality Division
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Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Causes Haze Across Iowa

July 07, 2015

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources as issued the following press release regarding the spike in fine particle levels today: 

 "Fine particulate (PM2.5) levels near EPA health standards are expected in parts of eastern Iowa today.  A plume of smoke originating from Canadian wildfires is passing southeastward through the state.  This smoke plume caused a spike in fine particle levels in eastern Iowa that may last for several more hours until north winds bring in cleaner air.

The Department of Natural Resources recommends that individuals in eastern 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:

The EPA’s 24-hour health threshold for PM
2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). 

The 24-hour PM2.5 concentration in Emmetsburg exceeded this level yesterday, where an average level of 36.3 µg/m3 was observed at a monitor located at Iowa Lakes Community College. 

As of 10 am, one-hour concentrations were above 36 µg/m3 in much of eastern Iowa. Hourly levels in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Clinton, Davenport, and Muscatine, were, 43, 70, 89, 90, and 85 µg/m3 respectively, but are expected to drop as the plume clears from the north."

Contact Todd Russell, Iowa DNR Air Quality Ambient Monitoring, (515) 725-9561 or Linn County Public Health, (319) 892-6000 with additional questions.