Air Quality

How to Find and Understand Air Quality Information and Recommendations

On June 6-8, 2023, wildfires in Canada released large amounts of small particles into the air.  Prevailing weather conditions carried these particles across Lake Ontario to New York and the Finger Lakes Region.

Air quality deteriorated rapidly on June 7 in the Yates County area, and several recommendations were made by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and its partners.

Below there are two ways to improve your awareness of air quality problems in the future and reduce your risk of associated health problems. This is especially important if you have a disease that affects the heart or lungs.

 1. Alert system: Sign up for the New York State Mass Notification System for all emergencies here,  This system is useful because it sends alerts to us over text or e-mail. These alerts remind us to pay attention to the news and to our local and state authorities.

2. Current and forecasted air quality information.  If you have internet access, find up-to-date air quality information along with recommendations for your area at 

Air quality indicators are summarized with a color-coded dial on a 0-500 point scale. Higher points indicate worse air quality:

EPA Air Quality

In the example above, the air quality indicator is yellow and this translates to moderate risk for sensitive health groups. The associated recommendation is for sensitive health groups to consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion, and to watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. The yellow recommendation for everyone else is to continue normal outdoor activity.

 Below are the air quality indicators with the corresponding color-coded recommendations for different groups at risk for health concerns, such as heart and lung disease. In the chart there are also recommendations for all people planning to go outdoors: 

Air Index

For more information, Yates County Public Health staff are available to answer questions 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday at (315) 536-5160, or visit our website for updates. 


Yates County Office of Emergency Management is also available at (315) 536-3000.