A "code orange" air quality alert has been issued for the Baltimore-Washington area Wednesday, July 21, in part due to a smoke plume. The Maryland Department of the Environment declares code orange when air pollution concentrations may be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Smoke from wildfires in the western United States will result in hazy skies and a rise in fine particulates in the air in the Mid-Atlantic, according to officials.

"Highest hourly concentrations will be during the morning and early afternoon hours," forecasters said of the large smoke plume descending on the Mid-Atlantic. "A front will make its way through the area Wednesday evening. Fine particulates will begin to clear out in its wake but given how high concentrations will be initially, expect generally [unhealthy for sensitive groups] conditions across most of the state for a 24-hour period."

Children, older adults, heart/lung disease sufferers and asthmatics are considered sensitive; they should avoid strenuous activity and outdoor exercise Wednesday to minimize the effects from the air quality, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment.... Read More: Pikesville Patch