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Detroit Air Quality Dips to “Unhealthy” Levels as Canadian Wildfire Smoke Pushes Closer to Michigan

Photo: Eric Seals ~ USA TODAY NETWORK

DETROIT, June 8, 2023 ~ Southeast Michigan’s air quality continues to worsen Thursday as more smoke is being pushed towards the region.

Air quality alerts will remain in place through midnight Friday as wildfires in northeast Canada continue to burn. The air quality is now deemed at an unhealthy level for everyone, not just those with underlying respiratory conditions.

Eleven Michigan counties are under weather alerts include Wayne, Bay, Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Midland, Monroe, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Tuscola, and Washtenaw.

Dr. Devang Doshi, Corewell Health pulmonologist and allergist, said to 760 WJR’s Sean Baligian that the smoke is creating dangerous breathing conditions for everyone in the Detroit area. He added that pollen count in the air is high in Michigan, due to the state receiving little rainfall.

For the next couple of days, Doshi recommends that people shorten outdoor activities, especially those with underlying respiratory conditions and allergies. He added that wearing N-95 or KN-95 masks outside would help filter out pollen and smoke particles.


June 8, 2023 ~ In light of the Canadian wildfire smoke in the Detroit area, Corewell Health Pulmonologist and Allergist Dr. Devang Doshi talks to Sean Baligian about the impact of poor air quality on respiratory health. Photo: Kevin R. Wexler ~ USA TODAY NETWORK

June 8, 2023 ~ Senior Meteorologist Ray Stagich with the Weather Channel talks to Sean Baligian about the impact of the Canadian wildfires on Michigan. Photo: Bill Streicher ~ USA TODAY Sports

(CONTINUED) On Wednesday, Detroit had some of the worse air quality in world due to the Canadian wildfires fule by hot and dry weather conditions. Over 9.4 million acres have been burned, which is larger than the state of Maryland, with the country well on track for its worst fire season ever.

Much of the Midwest and New England is inflicted with smoke, with New York City receiving particularly striking images of dark orange skies choking the city. Baligian also spoke with Weather Channel Senior Meteorologist Ray Stagich, who said these air conditions are unprecedented in Michigan.

I have been doing this for 27 years, and in my career, I have not seen widespread smoke to this magnitude and the air quality being as bad as it has been,” Stagich said.

The Great Lakes Region has also seen stagnant weather patterns, meaning the atmosphere is not moving storm systems, keeping the circulation of air in place. This circulation is bringing smoke from Canada and pushing into Michigan, along with other Midwest and New England states, Stagich said.

Michigan itself has seen a couple of notable wildfires in 2023, a 10-acre fire over Memorial Day Weekend in Grand Traverse County, and a 2,400-acre wildfire earlier this week near Grayling.

Air quality alerts are potentially being extended beforehand. Rain is expected early next week, which Doshi said will help with the pollen. While rain will help with dissipating the smoke, Stagich said there needs to be an overall shift in weather patterns to clear the haze from the sky, which he said could come early next week.