The Portland Press Herald reports that smoke from wildfires raging thousands of miles away in central and western Canada and the western United States will affect air quality in Maine from mid-day Monday through much of Tuesday.

According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the particle pollution concentration will reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range on the Air Quality Index for Maine before the smoke clears out Tuesday evening.

For children and adults with respiratory illnesses such as asthma or bronchitis, this means a greater risk of irritation and possibly reduced lung functions. Signs of distress include coughing, shortness of breath, throat irritation, and uncomfortable sensations in the chest area.

To prevent the effects of poor air quality, the Maine DEP recommends that at-risk individuals avoid strenuous outdoor activity, circulate air indoors, and keep windows shut. The DEP also recommends that sports coaches and care workers monitor the air quality at the DEP website, or via the EPA’s email and text alert system, EnviroFlash.

Due to heatwaves and a drought season in the western U.S. and Canada, fire season has begun much earlier than anticipated. And even though the fires are burning thousands of miles away, the largest ones have enough heat to push smoke upwards into the free troposphere, where strong upper-level winds carry the smoke to Maine.