Josie Taylor | August 2, 2021
The west coast of the United States, along with Canada have been experiencing extreme wildfires for weeks, but it’s not just affecting those areas of the country. On Thursday night and Friday morning, many Iowa towns and cities experienced unhealthy air quality due to smoke coming from the west.
Air quality is measured using AQI, Air Quality Index. AQI above 101 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups and above 151 is unhealthy for everyone. On Thursday night Palo Alto County, in northwest Iowa, reached 278 AQI. Anything above 201 AQI is seen very rarely in the United States, which shows just how much Iowa was being hurt by the fires.
Other places in the midwest are also being heavily affected by the wildfires in the north west. Minnesota and South Dakota have the second and third worst air quality in the nation. The only place with worse air than these midwest states is Washington state. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has said this because a cold front in the north west is pushing the smoke east.
Iowa DNR recommends checking air quality reports before doing outdoor exercise. If unhealthy air quality is reported, stay inside when possible.