LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — More than 400 wildfires are burning in Canada as of Thursday, and a haze from the smoke has crept down as far south as North Carolina.

The National Weather Service in Louisville is saying the wind patterns are blowing some of the haze through Kentucky, and along with it come some health risks.

Brian Schoettmer, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Louisville, said the haze is carrying fine particles called microns.

“What’s in smoke are very fine particles,” Schoettmer said. “And then they’re measuring it in a cube of space, and basically, the more parts of that smoke that you get, the less oxygen there is. And then those can actually get into your lungs.”

Dr. Ryan Stanton, FOX 56’s chief medical contributor, said the main people who are going to be impacted are those with ongoing lung diseases.

“Asthma and COPD are probably two of the most common diagnoses that are out there,” Stanton said. “And we know that many of the environmental factors, such as smoke, can be a trigger for these illnesses. The best prevention is to make sure that you have your medications and therapies available. Make sure you have all your medications and take them as prescribed, and may still even then get an exacerbation or a full tank of gas, or a plane ticket and getting out of the area.”

Stanton said this type of poor air quality hasn’t happened since the 1960s.

However, Schoettmer said the rain this week has helped the air quality conditions, and more help is on the way.


“But what the rain does is it actually then will catch those particles as it’s falling and it will kind of bring it back down to the surface,” Schoettmer said. “After tomorrow, we’ll get a wind pattern change, and so hopefully by the weekend, we’ll start to see some improvement for our area.”

To check the air quality, visit AirNow’s Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov).