SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The air quality alert has been extended for our area throughout the day Wednesday.

A hazy sky covering western Massachusetts, a sight to see in all four counties. That dense haze is caused from fires burning in Canada, blowing right in our direction, creating that smoky fog and a very orange sun. But it has also become a cause for concern for poor air quality in our state, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issuing a statewide Air Quality Alert.

Mass air categorized the four counties, and right here in Hampden County as unhealthy for sensitive groups of people. Doctors at Baystate Health saying poor air quality is unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, and even asthma.

“Before we had this air quality issue, we had an even more significant issue and that was in the air, but this air quality issue now is certainly harmful for patients that have chronic lung disease, but not as harmful for otherwise healthy people,” says Pulmonology Specialist Dr. John Landis.

MassDEP advises people, especially those with lung ailments, to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, do less intense activities, follow asthma action plans, and keep quick relief medicine handy.

They also recommend that people watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. The Air Quality Alert is in effect from now until midnight Thursday.