Air Quality Awareness Month

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality  | view as a webpage

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

May is Air Quality Awareness Month in Wyoming. This year, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality – Air Quality Division is emphasizing the importance of knowing your local and regional air quality conditions during wildfire season and other smoke-related events. Throughout the month, we will send recurring emails full of information and resources to help you ensure that you are undertaking healthy and safe practices if there are any wildfire events that impact your area.

Wildfire smoke can travel hundreds of miles from its source, even when the source is in a different state. That is why it is important to be aware of your local and regional air quality conditions before choosing to undertake certain activities. As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), particulate matter exposure from wildfire smoke can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, as well as more serious disorders such as reduced lung function, bronchitis, exacerbation of asthma, and other health effects.

There are several valuable resources you can use to check the air quality in your area before hitting the Wyoming outdoors this summer. WyVisNet (www.wyvisnet.com) provides live site data from air quality monitors across the Cowboy State, informing you of the conditions for several air pollutants (including particulate matter, the principal air pollutant from wildfire smoke) and providing the option to check webcams for your region of the state.

Another resource is EPA’s AirNow (https://airnow.gov/), which displays the most current Air Quality Index (AQI) values from monitors all over the nation, including Wyoming. The AQI is a cumulative-air quality metric that corresponds to a different level of health concern. For example, an AQI above 150 indicates that all populations – not just sensitive ones – may begin to experience some health risks.

If you have additional health-related questions regarding wildfire smoke, please contact Dr. Karl Musgrave with the Wyoming Department of Health at 307-777-5825.

Stay air aware this summer and enjoy Wyoming’s great outdoors!

Additional Resources:

How Wildfire Smoke Can Affect Your Health
https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index

Infographic: Reduce Health Risks in Areas with Wildfire Smoke https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/smoke_fires/reduce-health-risks-with-wildfire-smoke-508.pdf