BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued air quality alerts Monday as smoke and haze from wildfires in the western United States descended upon Massachusetts and the rest of New England. The alert has been extended until Tuesday evening for north and west of Boston.
It’s not just the smokey conditions, what really made it bad for people was the odor in the air.
“It was a little bit more of an eerie cast to it, so I went outside it smelled a little funky,” said James Byrnes of Worcester.
“I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and I’ve had a hard time believing that the odor came with the haze,” said Worcester Deputy Chief John Powers.
He said Worcester FD spent the day responding to calls of people asking about that smell and the dense haze thinking there were flames nearby.
“The amount of smoke these wildfires are generating,” Powers said. “Can you imagine what it’s like on the west coast?”
“It’s dangerous from the fires,” said Martha Mejia of Worcester. “We really need to do something to save the trees. I thought it was dust, but it was everywhere. Maybe I do need my mask now.”
Masks aren’t a bad idea, but Massachusetts DEP said people with health issues especially should avoid prolonged time outside in these conditions.
“I do have an asthma type affliction but I’m doing all right so far,” Byrnes said. “It’s kind of scary. Fires are so big, it affects us thousands of miles away, and it was disappointing too because we had all the rain recently and it was a day that was supposed to be a nice day.
There were Air Quality alerts for many parts of New England Monday including Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut. As of right now, the one in MA expires at midnight.
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