ITHACA N.Y.—The air may appear smoky again this weekend according to the most recent Air Quality Index (AQI) report from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

The DEC predicts smoky conditions in the area over the weekend, with AQI levels expected to remain moderate at intervals between 51-100. The DEC stated that at points over the next 24 hours, the air quality could be bad enough that the air would be unhealthy for sensitive groups, like the elderly, young children and people with cardiovascular or respiratory issues. For the most part, though, the air quality should remain in the “moderate” range.

This most recent report stands in stark contrast with AQI index levels reported by the DEC the first week of June, marking some improvement in local air quality impacts from Canada wildfires. Ithaca experienced record-breaking AQI levels the week of June 7, when intervals reached into the low-hundreds, and were defined as “hazardous” by the DEC. 

By 10 a.m. on Wednesday of that week, the AQI index was being reported at 402, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, any interval over 50 is considered dangerous for certain sensitive groups. 

While the Canadian wildfires continue to burn, it is possible smoke could continue impacting local air quality throughout the summer.

Judy Lucas is a General Assignment Reporter for The Ithaca Voice. Have a story idea? Comment or question? You can reach me at or on Twitter @judy__lucas.