Countless Americans woke up today with no cellular service, and many are left wondering what caused this to happen. Below, one of our faculty experts offers insights into the situation. If you’d like to schedule an interview with him, please…
‘There’s No Safe Place from Wildfire Smoke’ says Maxwell Environment Professor
Millions of people in North America are experiencing poor air quality this week due to smoke from wildfires burning in Canada. The smoke has drifted south and east, blanketing much of the Midwest and Northeast in a thick haze.
Air quality advisories are in effect for many areas, and officials are urging people to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity.
Two Syracuse University experts are available for interview. They provide comments below that can be quoted directly.
Robert Wilson is an associate professor in the Geography and the Environment Department at Syracuse University. Professor Wilson says:
“The burnt smell in the air and hazy skies we are experiencing this week shows us there’s no safe place from wildfire smoke. Massive blazes in the boreal forests of northern Quebec are sending smoke into New York. And Canada is having one of its worst wildfire seasons ever.
“But the effects of those fires and others this summer won’t remain north of the border. The smoke from these climate-change worsened wildfires will continue to travel south and cause watery eyes and scratchy throats. Those with asthma and other respiratory problems will fare far worse.”
Eric Schiff is a physics professor at Syracuse University and indoor air quality expert. Professor Schiff offers advice below about best practices to protect your indoor air quality. He is available for interview.
Q: Can wildfires impact indoor air quality?
A: “Yes, absolutely. Wildfires can make a neighborhood uninhabitable due to poor air quality.”
Q: Can closing your window help when air quality outside is poor?
A: “Closing windows is the first step in regulating indoor air quality when outdoor air is polluted. When local authorities warn about poor air quality, windows should be closed. Note that some outdoor air always seeps in, and in fact it’s needed to limit the buildup of carbon dioxide and unhealthful gases that originate indoors.”
Q: Can air purifiers help improve indoor air quality?
A: “Yes, standard room or building air filtration and purification devices are useful in reducing the buildup of small particles and unhealthful gases. These devices can be small appliances or can be integrated into central heating and air conditioning systems. They don’t help with carbon dioxide, however.”
Q: Are there other measures people should take when the outdoor air quality is poor?
A: “Outdoor exercise or activity should be limited if the air quality is bad.”
Q: Do any extra precautions need to be taken for children or pets?
A: “I’m not an authority, but generally the advice is to maintain a higher standard of air quality for kids than for adults. While I personally wouldn’t take extra measures for healthy dogs and cats, some other pets are more sensitive to air pollution than people. Canary birds are more sensitive than people and were actually used in mines to warn miners about dangerous underground air quality.”
To request interviews or get more information:
Associate Director of Media Relations
Division of Communications