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Arlington’s air quality has reached Code Red levels again due to Canadian wildfire smoke

Air Quality Index reading as of 3 p.m. (via

The air quality in Arlington County has crossed into “Code Red” levels.

The county’s Air Quality Index (AQI), according to the federal government’s website, was 151 as of 3 p.m., just past the 150 threshold for Code Red. That comes as a new round of Canadian wildfire smoke wafts into the area.

The AQI was in Code Orange levels earlier this afternoon. Code Red levels indicate that “some members of the general public may experience health effects,” while “members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects,” according to AirNow.

The smoke is expected to thin locally tomorrow, according to the Capital Weather Gang. But Tuesday is still forecast to be a Code Orange air quality day.

More, below, from a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments press release.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has forecast a Code Orange air day for the metropolitan Washington region tomorrow: Tuesday, July 18. Smoke coming from wildfires in Canada will contribute to the increased levels of fine particle pollution. The Code Orange levels mean the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, including older adults, children, and people with heart or lung disease.

  • Sensitive groups like people with heart or lung disease like asthma or emphysema, older adults, and children should make outdoor activities shorter and less intense and watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

Residents can check current air quality conditions on COG’s website or the Clean Air Partners website.

On unhealthy air days, COG advises the following actions to improve the air:

  • Avoid lawn mowing or use an electric mower.
  • Use gas or electric grills instead of charcoal.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank after sunset.
  • Take transit, carpool, or work from home.
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use and follow tips from your electric utility about how to use less electricity to cool your home.

COG provides air quality forecasts and current air quality conditions for metropolitan Washington. It also educates the public about voluntary actions people can take to reduce pollution and the health risks of bad air quality through its Clean Air Partners program, which is co-sponsored by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council.

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