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Massachusetts residents call fire departments about smoke from West

by WCVB-TV (Boston) news reports |

An air quality alert was issued Monday for much of Massachusetts because of smoke at the ground level from wildfires raging on the western side of the continent.

The alert, which was issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, is in effect through midnight. It means that the concentration of fine particulates in the air may approach or exceed healthy standards.

The American Lung Association recommends that people avoid spending time outside until the smoke clears.

"The fine particle pollution can get into the deepest parts of the lungs, cross into the bloodstream and can affect lots of people," said Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association. "People with asthma and chronic bronchitis – people with heart disease can experience a higher risk of angina, or heart attack and stroke. We know that this does kill people.”

Several Massachusetts fire departments said they were receiving numerous calls reporting the smell of smoke or haze in the air.

"This (is) due to the jet stream capturing smoke from the Western and Canadian Wildfires and bringing it over our region," the Greenfield Fire Department said in a statement. "You may continue to smell smoke in the region for some time."