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Wildfire smoke to worsen air quality in Maine this week

July 26, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine officials cautioned on Monday that air quality will be worse than typical in the early part of this week due to smoke from fires elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection said particle pollution concentrations started to rise in the state’s western mountains earlier in the day Monday than expected. The department said levels were expected to keep rising through the day from northwest to southeast.

Pollution levels are likely to remain high overnight and for much of Tuesday, but are expected to clear out Tuesday evening, the department said. The department said the level of particle pollution is likely to reach the category of “unhealthy for sensitive groups” from midday Monday through Tuesday afternoon.

The smoke that’s causing the pollution is from wildfires in central and western Canada and the western U.S.

The department said residents can protect themselves during the stretch of elevated pollution by avoiding strenuous activity and closing windows.