June 7, 2023

New York residents urged to stay indoors as Canada’s wildfires pollute air

New York residents urged to stay indoors as Canada’s wildfires pollute air

Residents of New York in the United States have been asked to stay at home as an orange haze of wildfire smoke from Canada hovers over parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

According to CNN, New York City had the world’s worst air pollution of any major city during parts of Tuesday as smoke from more than 100 wildfires burning north of the Canadian border drifted south.

The smoke which triggered air quality alerts in some places of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, has a potential health risk that could persist Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said the alarming air quality, a degree of which could continue Wednesday, alerted New York Mayor Eric Adams to ask residents to limit their outdoor activity and state environmental officials to issue an air quality health advisory for the city through Wednesday.

“Active children, adults, and people with lung diseases such as asthma should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors,” officials advised.

New York City public schools cancelled all outdoor activities Wednesday but will remain open, as at least 10 school districts in central New York State cancelled outdoor activities and events Tuesday.

Air quality in the northeast US has worsened this week as more than 150 wildfires rage in Quebec, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

So far this year, the province has experienced more than 400 wildfires, which is twice the average for this time of year.

More than 9 million acres have been charred by wildfires in all of Canada this year – about 15 times the normal burned area for this point in the year.

Human-induced climate change has exacerbated the hot and dry conditions that fuel wildfires. 

Scientists recently reported that millions of acres scorched by wildfires in the Western US and Canada – an area roughly the size of South Carolina – could be traced back to carbon pollution from the world’s largest fossil fuel and cement companies.