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Smoke from Wildfires Blankets Montgomery, Health Dept Advises Folks to Stay Indoors/Mask Up Outside

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted June 8, 2023


An Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Montgomery Township today, Thursday, June 8, and for Friday, June 9 according to AirNow.gov.


Many local outdoor activities have been canceled, postponed, or delayed while levels of fine particulates will remain in the unhealthy category statewide on Thursday and extend into the evening hours due to wildfire smoke transport from eastern Canadian wildfires. Somerset County employees who regularly work outdoors (recycling, public works, etc.) have been brought indoors to protect their health. County recycling will be delayed. The Somerset County BizFest scheduled for today at TD Bank Ballpark has been postponed until September.

Air quality in Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill is "very unhealthy" again today. Follow AirNow for up-to-date reports.


Some members of the general public may experience health effects, while members of sensitive groups, including those with heart or lung disease, the elderly, and the young, may experience more serious health effects, according to AirNow.

"All individuals should limit strenuous activities and the amount of time active outdoors especially in the evening hours."

Skillman Park on Wednesday afternoon, June 7. The park was empty, with the exception of the white-tail deer and an occasional fox.


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had issued a Code Red Air Quality Alert on Wednesday, June 7 and a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for Thursday, June 8.


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A Code Red Alert is used when air pollution concentrations within the area are unhealthy for all individuals. A Code Orange Alert is issued when air pollution concentrations within the area are unhealthy for sensitive populations. Sensitive populations include the elderly, infants and young children, as well as people with diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

A smoky Burnt Hill Road in Montgomery Township on Wednesday.


Tips from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

  • People in general should avoid strenuous activities and limit the amount of time they are active outdoors.

  • For people who work outdoors or need to be outside: Take more breaks indoors if possible.

  • Shorten the length and intensity of any physical activity outdoors.

  • The most effective way to prevent breathing harmful particles from wildfire smoke is to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. If an air conditioner is available, run it while keeping the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.

  • When outdoor air quality is poor, do not use candles and fireplaces, which could add to indoor air pollution. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do use leaf blowers outside.

  • Do not smoke tobacco or other products, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. People who must be outside can have some protection from an N95 mask if worn properly.




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