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Could wildfire smoke return to Indiana this summer?

Wildfire Smoke Summer 2024

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A year ago, parts of Indiana had the worst air quality in the world.

Wildfire smoke was directed into the state, and this resulted in Indianapolis having an Air Quality Index (AQI) value over 250 on June 28.

Current Fire/Smoke

Canada’s wildfire season has been off to a slow start compared to 2023, which was the worst year on record. Today, only a few fires are burning and producing minimal plumes of smoke.

In previous years, the wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest has made it into Indiana at times. Only a couple of fires are burning in these locations. Wildfire season typically runs from the summer to early fall.

Could wildfire smoke be driven into the U.S. this summer?

Western Canada still has severe to extreme drought going on in multiple provinces. Drought can provide the fuel for wildfires to spread and increase the chances of ignition.

The months of July and August could once again turn active, but then the question will be the upper air pattern. Our odds of having a day with worse air quality than June 28 are slim, but not zero in Indiana.

However, days with hazy skies and wildfire smoke in the upper levels of the atmosphere are quite possible. Indiana has seen these types of days in multiple summers over the last few years.