Mar 24, 2023

High fire risk, Code Orange air quality continue in York County on Wednesday

York County will continue to have a high risk of fire Wednesday while also dealing with poor air quality as smoke from wildfires in Canada moves through the region.

Central Pennsylvania will have low humidity and northeast winds gusting up to 20 mph Wednesday afternoon, creating conditions that could spread fires quickly, the National Weather Service warned. Wednesday will be hazy, with a high of 79 and low of 49, according to the forecast.

People are urged to use caution when handling cigarettes, matches, machinery and anything else that could cause a spark as dry grass and tree litter could easily begin to burn, the NWS said.

York County is under a 30-day burn ban that is in effect until July 5. The burn ban prohibits any open fires outdoors, either in a burn barrel or on the ground. Violators will be fined $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $300 for third offenses and each subsequent offense.

The ban does not cover propane or gas stoves, charcoal briquette grills or the use of tobacco in any form. Campfires in designated state, federal or Department of Environmental-licensed campgrounds are allowed in fire rings that confine and contain the campfire.

The area is also seeing the effects of wildfires burning in eastern Canada, leading to a second Code Orange air quality action day on Wednesday from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

High concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air mean it is unhealthy for sensitive groups like young children, the elderly and those with lung disease or asthma to be outside for long periods of time, according to the DEP.

The Code Orange designation covers York County and the rest of the Susquehanna Valley along with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley region, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release Tuesday.

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The DEP strongly encourages residents to help reduce particulate air pollution by not using fireplaces or wood stoves, avoiding open burning of trash, leaves or other materials, and not using gas-powered lawn mowers or other garden equipment for the day.

Air quality is expected to improve Thursday, according to the DEP.

York County could see some rain Friday night and more Sunday and into next week, according to the NWS forecast.