Canadian Wildfire Smoke Drifts Over Area, Causes Slight Odor

Reports of the smoke were received in the area.

A view of State Street in Newtown Borough. File photo.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

A slight odor of smoke hung over parts of the area on Tuesday morning and early afternoon.

According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), smoke from wildfires in Canada drifted over the Midwest and over the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The air quality level was yellow.

Reports received by this news organization came from Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, and Solebury Township.

Bristol Township Fire Marshal Kevin Dippolito said his staff had received reports of the smell. They also detected it when they went outside.

A weather station at the township building reported winds from the northwest around the time the smoke was noticed.

Another fire official said the smell led to at least one false alarm call in Bucks County.

Federal data from monitoring stations on the Philadelphia and Bucks County border and in Ewing, New Jersey, showed reduced air quality in the area throughout the afternoon.

The yellow level, according to the EPA, advised that most people would be fine outside, but “unusually sensitive people” should only be outside for short amounts of time.

On Tuesday evening, scattered rain showers were forecast to move through the area and last into Wednesday morning.

“Last year, large wildfires burned much of central and southern Canada and periodically sent smoke into the northern U.S. The Canadian wildfire season is expected to be near to above the historical average in terms of the number of fires and well above average in terms of the acreage burned,” according to AccuWeather.

The recent wildfires have forced thousands of people to evacuate from their residences in western Canada.

Last year, Bucks County saw a number of days with thick smoke from wildfires over the area.

The American Lung Association has tips for days when the air quality is orange, red, purple or maroon:

  • Reduce the time you spend outdoors to under 30 minutes when AQI (Air Quality Index) is high. Also, reduce the intensity of outdoor activity. According to the EPA, the chances of being affected by unhealthy levels of air pollution increase the longer a person is active outdoors and the more strenuous the activity. 
  • If you must go outdoors, consider wearing a mask. Unfortunately, not all masks are created equal when it comes to particle pollution as a cloth or dust mask are not able to filter out the fine particles. However, well-fitted N95 or KN95 masks have better filtration capabilities and may be beneficial during high AQI days.
  • Keep your air indoors healthy by keeping the windows and doors closed. Run the air conditioning on the recirculate setting, use a portable HEPA air cleaner or, in severe circumstances, creating a clean room.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.