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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Air Quality Alert currently in effect has been extended to include Thursday, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced.

Visible smoke from wildfires in Canada has been drifting across parts of the northeast since Monday, posing a health risk for sensitive groups and those with respiratory issues.

The air quality will once again be listed as “unhealthy” due to high fine particle pollution, according to the DEM, meaning people without preexisting conditions may also experience negative health effects.

The DEM said people with heart disease may be at risk of a heart attack if they breathe in fine particle pollution.

Sensitive groups are advised to stay indoors if possible and keep windows and doors shut for the duration of the alert. Strenuous outdoor physical activity is not recommended.

The DEM said the smoke could remain in our area until Friday.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed announced Wednesday that $178,000 in federal aid has been secured to help the state improve its air quality monitoring.

“Clean air is critical to public health and our quality of life,” Reed said. “Air pollution has no boundaries or respect for borders and state lines.”

“Rhode Island, New England, and other East Coast states are being impacted by this significant Canadian wildfire,” he continued. “Hopefully conditions will soon improve. Until then, this type of federal funding can help us be better informed and prepared and we must continue working to prevent pollution and improve air quality.”

Visit the DEM’s website to view the updated air quality forecast and more resources and information about air quality alerts.

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