Canadian Wildfire Smoke Returns to Midwest, Chicago; Air Hazard Possible Monday Night, Tuesday


Smoke Forecast: 250+ PM2.5 Here

Tree line only half a block away grayed out by haze from Canadian wildfire smoke Monday, June 26, 2023 about 5:00 p.m.
Tree line only half a block away grayed out by haze from Canadian wildfire smoke Monday, June 26, 2023 about 5:00 p.m.

Smoke and haze was noticeable, along with the odor of something burning in Arlington Heights, and the City of Chicago and other areas of Chicagoland beginning about 5:00 p.m. Monday, June 26, 2023. RED Center fire dispatch took a few calls from concerned residents reporting the odor of smoke in the neighborhood. On two separate call, the caller reported the odor as a plastic burning smell. Apparently the upper air travel of smoke and particles from Canada wildfires gives off a sort of burning plastic smell along with the burning wood smell.


CARDINAL NEWS Canada Smoke: Arlington Heights, Chicago Area Air Quality Index Exceeds 200 for Suspended Particles

Winds were from the west until about noon Monday, and shifted from the northwest for the remainder of Monday. However, the big transporter of Canadian wildfire smoke is a Low Pressure area centered north of Detroit over the southern region of Lake Huron. Low Pressure systems spin counterclockwise, so wind is drawing smoke and particles south from the area of Ontario and western Quebec and south through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and northern Illinois.

Canada Wildfire Fire M3Hotspots map June 26, 2023 (SOURCE: Natural Resources Canada)
Canada Wildfire Fire M3Hotspots map June 26, 2023 (SOURCE: Natural Resources Canada).

Disclaimer: The information, maps and data services available through the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System are approximations based on available data, and may not show the most current fire situation. For additional maps and information on the current conditions, please visit the fire management agency website for your region of interest (province, territory or park).

— Natural Resources Canada Fire M3 Hotspots Map 6/26/2023

Wildfires are occurring across the southern tier of provinces in Canada from Quebec to British Columbia. According to the FireM3 Hotspots map for June 26, 2023 from the Canadian government, the greatest amount of fire activity is in southwest Quebec. The current Low Pressure system near Detroit at 6:00 p.m. Monday, June 26, 2023 is drawing smoke from east to west over southwest Quebec, and carrying smoke and particles south over western Michigan, Lake Michigan, eastern Wisconsin, and northeast Illinois.

Smoke from Ontario is pushing south toward the rest of the upper Midwest including northern Illinois and the rest of Illinois, Iowa, eastern Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Other states, including Indiana are also affected.

Haze was already noticeable Monday around 5:00 p.m. with tree lines as little as a half block distance noticeably obscured by the haze from the Canadian wildfire smoke.

According to the National Weather Service Office Chicago, northeast Illinois will see a decrease in cloud cover Tuesday, but northerly winds will result in a return of the Canadian wildfire smoke Monday night and through at least Tuesday night. Hazy conditions across the area are forecast for Tuesday, with possible visibility restrictions down as low as a few miles. Visibility was already affected in Wisconsin Monday, and NWS forecasters expect visibility to be affected in Illinois Tuesday.

High temperatures Tuesday will begin moderating (warming compared to Monday), with inland readings likely climbing into the lower 80s. Onshore flow will result in cooler weather along the Lake Michigan lakeshore.

The National Weather Service alerts appear to focus more on Ozone compared to suspended particulate matter PM2.5


According to the FireSmoke Canada map from the Weather Forecast Research Team at the University of British Columbia (with support from multiple agencies), PM2.5 may be higher than 250 μm/m^3 beginning about 8:00 p.m. Monday, June 26, 2023 and continuing until about 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, 2023. There may be a dip to about 120 μm/m^3 for a few hours after midnight Monday/Tuesday (See also

Suspended particulate matter (SPM) or fine particles, designated PM2.5, with a diameter of 2.5 μm or less may be at the worst levels from around 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

On from the EPA, Arlington Heights and City of Chicago AQI was reported at 161 at 6:00 p.m. Monday. An AQI of 250 is in the second worst category of the AQI index indicating a health alert when the risk of health effects is increased for everyone. You can view the AQI anytime on CARDINAL NEWS at [NOTE: The AQI on Apple iPhone tends to be a little lower than the report from the EPA’s website]

AQI Basics Ozone and Particle Pollution (SOURCE:
AQI Basics Ozone and Particle Pollution (SOURCE:

Satellite view showing counter clockwise spin centered over southern Lake Huron Monday June 26, 2023 from about 11:26 a.m. CT to 5:11 p.m. CT YouTube Tips ⓘ

AQI PM2.5 was 300 to 500 two weeks ago — around June 7, 2023.

Canada wildfire smoke over NYC: 4 p.m. Wednesday June 7, 2026 update YouTube Tips ⓘ is an Amazon Associate website, which means that a small percentage of your purchases gets paid to at no extra cost to you. When you use the search boxes above, any Amazon banner ad, or any product associated with an Amazon banner on this website, you help pay expenses related to maintaining and creating new services and ideas for a resourceful website. See more info at