By now, it’s no secret that the sky over Baltimore and the surrounding areas looks different than usual. Smoke from wildfires in Canada has made its way into the United States, blanketing the northeastern part of the country with a haze over the last few days.
The Maryland Zoo announced Thursday morning that it would be closing at noon due to the poor air quality, which has been deemed “hazardous” in some parts of Maryland by attaining a measurement of 301 and above on the Air Quality Index.
Baltimoreans have been using social media to express their concerns — and, for some, to spread humor about the situation.
Frank Curzio, who is in Baltimore on a business trip, took to Twitter to talk about the air quality.
“I’m in Baltimore on business… and you can taste the smoke in the air,” Curzio wrote. “Had no idea it was this bad.”
Another account, @OriolesParade, joked that the orange sky over Yankee Stadium is because “The Rise Of The Baltimore Orioles Is Spreading.”
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore cautioned Marylanders about being outdoors in a tweet Wednesday while providing precautions to reduce the risk of smoke-related illness.
“Stay indoors as much as possible. If you do have to be outdoors, a N95 or KN95 mask can be worn for protection,” Moore tweeted.
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen delivered KN95 masks to senior buildings on Thursday afternoon, tweeting a picture of him standing with a bag of masks.
The Baltimore Orioles play the last game of a three-game series on Thursday in Milwaukee before traveling home for a weekend series against the Kansas City Royals.
Baltimore has not fallen victim to any game cancellations because they were away this week. Still, two other MLB games were canceled on Wednesday, which were supposed to be played in New York and Philadelphia, and the Nationals game scheduled for Thursday is postponed.
The Baltimore Banner reported Thursday morning that the Orioles “hope” they’ll be able to play each game this weekend.
Social media users are also urging caution about the safety of pets.
Dr. Cecília Tomori, a public health professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, cautioned her followers on Twitter to stay indoors, bring pets inside, wear masks when outside, and other precautions.
It is not clear yet when the smoke in the air might leave the area, but it did get worse from Wednesday to Thursday.
A “dense smoke plume” from the wildfires in Quebec, Canada moved toward the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday night into Thursday, according to a forecast from the Maryland Department of the Environment, “raising fine particle concentrations notably.”
“Some reprieve in concentrations is expected during the afternoon Thursday, but the high morning concentrations will likely keep many areas within the Unhealthy, Code Red AQI range due to fine particles for the daily average,” said the MDE forecast. “A front on Friday will bring some reprieve to fine particle concentrations, but due to continued northerly transport from the fire region, USG [conditions that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups] due to fine particles remains a possibility.”
At the time of publication, Baltimore is under a code red for air quality, meaning that the air is unhealthy for all individuals.