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Wildfire Smoke/Air Quality Alert

In recent days, smoke from wildfires in Canada has drifted south to the United States, leading to more than a dozen US states issuing air quality alerts. Canada officially started its wildfire season earlier last month, and there are currently 413 wildfires burning across Canada, 249 of them considered to be out of control. Tribal Nations in the Northeast now face extremely unhealthy air quality conditions due to smoke.

The recent weather patterns in Maine have kept the wildfire smoke at bay, but those patterns will be shifting soon. Community members are encouraged to review the following guidance as the Air Quality Index goes up:

Key Precautions When Smoke is in the Air

  • Wear a mask or respirator. An N95, KN95 mask or P100 respirator, if worn correctly, can provide some lung protection from particulates in the air.
    • Tribal Nations may want to consider using left-over N95 or KN95 masks from the COVID-19 pandemic for additional protection.
  • Stay indoors, if possible, particularly in areas with high air quality index warnings.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible.
    • Keep windows shut and run air conditioning, if possible.
    • Seek other shelter if air conditioning is not available and it is too hot outside.
    • Do not add in any indoor pollution by burning candles, incense, or other smoking products.
  • Use an air filtration device, if possible. Filters with particle removers are best for those with respiratory conditions, the elderly, and children.
  • Monitor air quality conditions using weather apps, weather websites, and/or listen to alerts through weather radio stations.

KN95 masks are available at the Penobscot Nation Health Dept. for community members at this time. The Medical program will also be conducting wellness checks over the next week for any patients with at-risk conditions. If you have questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment, please call the main line @ (207) 817-7400.

Stay safe everyone!

Candy Henderly 


Penobscot Nation Health Department

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