Dina Rudick/Globe StaffAn air quality alert has been issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection after smoke from more than 50 forest fires in Quebec has blown into the region.
The alert, which is in effect until 8 tonight, affects northern Worcester, Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, and eastern Norfolk counties.
"Basically, anybody that has any breathing problems or allergies to smoke should probably stay inside until the winds shift and blow the smoke out," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.
The smoke, which has been generated by more than 50 forest fires in northern Quebec, traveled across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Eight of the forest fires remain out of control.
Winds shifted overnight to a north to northeastern direction, Dunham said.
"That's been blowing the smoke all the way across eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the islands," Dunham said.
The smoke first moved onto Cape Cod at about 8 this morning, Dunham said.
Eloise Levy, 58, of Orleans, said she woke up to the smell of smoke, which she thought was coming from an electrical fire.
"I was just sure that there was a fire in the neighborhood, and nobody knew it," Levy said. "It was a very strong smell. It was throughout the house, not just outside."
Levy said she contacted and was reassured by her local fire department.
"It was a very scary smell to wake up to," Levy said. "But it's dissipating, and once I was reassured by the fire department, I was good."
The smoke will blow back out to sea when the winds shift to the south to southwest, Dunham said.
"Winds have to shift eventually to blow this smoke back out to sea," Dunham said.
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