The sun, colored deep red by smoke from Canadian wildfires, sets behind the Upshur County hills on Wednesday, June 7. (Brian Bergstrom/My Buckhannon)

WVDEP: Eastern Panhandle air quality falls to ‘unhealthy’ levels due to Canadian wildfires

Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health (BPH), and Emergency Management Division (EMD) are actively watching for potential air quality issues for fine particulate matter as smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact areas along the East Coast.

According to, unofficial air monitors indicate counties in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle are currently the most impacted in the state, with air quality index scores in the 151 to 200 range.

Air quality in this range indicates that some members of the general public may experience health effects and members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

The rest of West Virginia is showing air quality index scores in the good (0-50) and moderate (51-100) ranges.

Per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), citizens in areas with poor air quality are encouraged to limit their time outdoors and avoid strenuous activities. N-95 masks can help reduce smoke inhalation and potential health risks.

Click here for information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting yourself from wildfire smoke. 

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