CHICAGO (WLS) — Smoke from wildfires burning across Canada led to extremely foggy conditions and drastically reduced air quality in the Chicago area Tuesday.
Air quality in much of the Chicago area Tuesday was in the unhealthy category for everyone, not just those with respiratory ailments.
WATCH: Time-lapse showing a foggy sky over Chicago
The Air Quality Warning is in effect for the Chicago area and the Rockford area through midnight Wednesday. The alert also applies to Wisconsin and Indiana.
Starting at 9pm, AirNow. gov Chicago's air quality listed at 241. Chicago had the worst air quality of any major city in the world Tuesday.
“Your bronchioles, the tubes that lead to your lungs will be more inflamed. And that will make them feel like they're closing a little bit,” says Dr. Jordan Moskoff of Stroger Hospital.
Performing on Northerly Island Tuesday night, Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson had to cut her performance short due to air quality.
“I have COPD and this is really bad for me, so we cut our time short,” he said in a fan's cell phone video from the concert.
Canadian officials said rainfall likely wouldn't be enough to extinguish the wildfires engulfing northern Quebec, but the wet weather could give firefighters a chance to contain the blazes as the country surpassed the record for area burned by wildfires this week. Smoke drifting from wildfires in Canada created a haze curtain and increased air quality problems across the Great Lakes region, and in parts of the central and eastern United States. Meanwhile, NASA reports that smoke from wildfires in northern Quebec has reached Europe.
Tracks air quality throughout the Chicago area
The Chicago Park District said it would move programs, including summer camps, indoors as much as possible.
Police said all of Evanston Beach had been closed for the remainder of Tuesday, and firefighters said the Starlight Concert in Baker Park had been canceled Tuesday night.
Outside Wrigley Field, fans took little chances.
“This is the number one worst air quality in the world,” said Cubs fan Lucy Graeve. “I just want to take precautions and save the lungs of these little ones. I have three kids and we're all going to try to wear masks.”
Those outside are advised to wear masks, with N95 masks where possible. With poor air quality, AirNow.gov recommends people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and adolescents reduce their exposure by:
– Avoid strenuous outdoor activities
-Keep outdoor activities brief.
-Consider moving physical activity indoors or rescheduling it.
For everyone, officials recommend people:
-Choose activities that are not too strenuous (like walking instead of running) so you don't breathe too hard.
-Shorten the amount of time you spend outdoors.
-Be active outdoors when the air quality is better.
Mayor Brandon Johnson issued a statement on air quality saying, “The City of Chicago is carefully monitoring and taking precautions as the US Environmental Protection Agency has categorized our Air Quality Index as ‘unhealthy' due to the smoke from the Canadian forest fires in the Chicago area. We recommend children, youth, seniors, the elderly with heart or lung disease, and individuals who are pregnant avoid strenuous activities and limit their time outdoors.
“For added precaution, all Chicagoans may also consider wearing masks, limiting outdoor exposure, staying indoors, running air purifiers, and closing windows. As these unsafe conditions continue, the City will continue to provide updates and take swift action to ensure that vulnerable individuals have the resources they need to protect themselves and their families.Anyone requiring immediate medical attention should call 911.
“This summer, cities across North America have experienced unhealthy levels of air quality due to the haze from the wildfires, which impacted more than 20 million people from New York City, Washington DC, Montreal, and today here in Chicago. As we seek to respond to immediate health concerns in our communities, this concerning episode demonstrates and underscores the disastrous impact that the climate crisis is having on our people, as well as people around the world.
“We must take drastic action to mitigate this threat and ensure that every Chicagoan in every neighborhood has the resources and protection they need to thrive. Please visit airnow.gov for the latest information on air quality in Chicago.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.