State breaks out more face masks as wildfire smokes continues to move down from Canada

New York State is making one million free face masks available, including 600,000 to local governments for additional distribution, as air quality concerns continue today as the result of smoke and haze from multiple wildfires moving south from Canada.

No information as to availability has been provided at this writing by the Allegany County Office of Emergency Management or Health Department as to local distribution sources, although they were available yesterday on a table outside the county Board of Legislators chambers in Belmont as lawmakers met, and still may be found in some library, senior meal sites and other public locations as a result of prior COVID distributions.

Allegany and surrounding counties remain under an Unhealthy air quality designation for all individuals through midnight today, with Deputy County Public Health Director Jami D’Arcy telling the county Human Service Committee late yesterday afternoon that the air quality had been in the higher purple, or Very Unhealthy, level for a few hours earlier in the day.

Schools and other organizations were canceling outside activities yesterday, with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul urging such actions at news briefings.

Clearer air may be in the offing, as is shown in National Weather Service graphical components in the upper right corner of the composite image accompanying this story.

Today’s weather and fire danger
There is potential for showers in the region today, with the greatest possibility in mid-afternoon and a higher potential for the afternoon Friday, according to forecasts, before a generally rain-free weekend sets in.

The fire danger risk for all of New York State, itself, has been reduced to High to Moderate today.

The governor, however, notes that “while the statewide burn ban is no longer in effect, brush burning should only be done when absolutely necessary,” adding that “burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round in New York State.”

Being Aware, Prepared, and Staying Safe
The daily fire map of impacted areas is available at, with the air quality map at

Greater weather details for the next seven days and beyond for Allegany County, regionally and nationally are available through our Weather Resources link on this website.

This new, exclusive page of forecasts and other information from National Weather Services offices at Buffalo, for Allegany County west, Binghamton for Steuben County east, and State College, Pa., for Potter and McKean counties in Pennsylvania, along with regional and national data, also is available directly at

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