Why is the Air Quality Bad in Vermont Today? It was a mild weather day Tuesday, The residents of Vermont and Northern New York are currently experiencing a decline in air quality, accompanied by hazy skies.The impact of wildfires in Quebec is the primary reason behind this undesirable situation. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality advisory, emphasizing the potential dangers, especially for at-risk groups.

Unprecedented wildfires in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and eastern Ontario have led to widespread smoke and unhealthy air quality across various parts of the United States. Despite Vermont’s usual excellent air quality, this year’s wildfires have significantly worsened it. Bennett Leon, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s air quality chief, emphasized the extensive haze and smoke.

Canadian wildfires contributed to a hazy sky over Montpelier on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Photo by Erin Petenko/VTDigger

Unprecedented Wildfires Impacting Vermont

Vermont is currently experiencing a notable deterioration in air quality and the emergence of hazy skies, primarily attributed to an unprecedented series of wildfires. These wildfires have erupted in various regions, including Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and eastern Ontario, resulting in the release of substantial quantities of smoke and contributing to unhealthy air conditions throughout the affected areas. Bennett Leon, Vermont’s air quality chief, expressed deep concern about the pervasive haze and smoke. Vermont has long been recognized for its exceptional air quality, which further intensifies the concern surrounding the present circumstances. The severity of this year’s wildfires is exacerbated by the long-range dispersion of smoke particles and pollutants. Massive plumes of smoke originating from these wildfires have spread extensively across the region, significantly impacting air quality in Vermont.

Canadian Wildfires and Their Influence

The current poor air quality in Vermont can be attributed to the extensive wildfires occurring in Canada. Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Eastern Ontario faced unprecedented fires, releasing substantial smoke. The smoke has spread, impacting air quality in Canada and neighboring areas like Vermont. The scale of the Canadian wildfires is concerning. This year, a staggering 8 million acres burned, creating towering plumes of smoke across the region. Transporting smoke particles and pollutants worsened Vermont’s air quality. The impact of the Canadian wildfires is further intensified by favorable weather conditions. Mild Tuesday weather worsened air quality with persistent smoke, and reduced visibility. The issuance of an Air Quality Alert by the National Weather Service for certain parts of the Northeast underscores the seriousness of the situation.

Unfavorable Weather Conditions

Furthermore, adverse weather conditions worsen Vermont’s air quality along with the impact of Canadian wildfires. Mild weather on Tuesday allowed smoke and haze to persist, reducing visibility and air quality. These unfavorable weather conditions play a significant role in intensifying the situation. When combined with the presence of smoke from the wildfires, they contribute to the deterioration of air quality in Vermont. The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for select areas in the Northeast. The persistent haze and reduced visibility are clear indicators of the unfavorable weather conditions currently affecting Vermont. These conditions harm air quality and endanger residents’ well-being.It is of utmost importance to closely monitor weather patterns and their influence on air quality in order to gain a better understanding of the situation and implement appropriate mitigation measures.

Measures to Address the Situation

One crucial step is to raise awareness among the public about the importance of minimizing exposure to poor air quality. Providing guidance on adjusting outdoor activities, especially for at-risk groups, can help reduce their vulnerability. Schools, like Champlain Valley School District, adjust recess and physical education to reduce student exposure. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation regularly measures air quality and provides daily updates. These measurements allow authorities to assess the severity of the situation and implement appropriate measures to protect public health.

Collaboration and communication among relevant agencies, healthcare providers, and the community are paramount. Sharing information about the risks, offering support, and ensuring timely dissemination of guidelines can help individuals make informed decisions and protect themselves from the adverse effects of poor air quality.


The impact of the Canadian wildfires on Vermont’s air quality is unprecedented and raises significant concerns. The presence of smoke originating from wildfires in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Eastern Ontario has resulted in hazy skies and deteriorating air quality throughout the region. Vermont, renowned for its typically excellent air quality, is now facing an unusual situation that underscores the severity of the wildfires’ effects. Various authorities and organizations are actively implementing measures to safeguard at-risk groups and alleviate the consequences of poor air quality. It is imperative to closely monitor the situation, raise awareness about the importance of maintaining clean air, and prioritize the well-being of Vermont’s residents.

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