The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued an Air Quality Watch for Particle Pollution for Racine and 13 other counties, taking effect at midnight Tuesday and lasting to midnight Wednesday.
Other counties in the watch area are Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha.
The watch is being issued because of the forecast for elevated levels of fine particles in the air, composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller. These fine particles come primarily from combustion sources, such as power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and outdoor fires.
The Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the orange level, which is considered unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults and children. When an air quality watch is issued, people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities during the watch period.
People with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure.