George Washington Bridge disappears in smoke from Canadian wildfires
New York City’s air quality remains in the “very unhealthy” category as thicker smoke poured south from the devastating wildfires in Canada.
With no end in sight for Quebec wildfires, experts said pollution could linger Thursday and possibly over the weekend.
The Big Apple has been blanketed in a sci-fi-like orange glow in recent days as East Coast schools canceled outdoor activities, Broadway shows were canceled and air flights halted .
New York continues to have the worst air quality among major cities in the world according to the Air Quality Index (AQI). At one point, the levels rose above 350, said to be “dangerous”.
At least 13 US states have local air quality alerts issuedaffecting approximately 115 million people.
The entire northeast coast is battling smoke moving south from more than 400 wildfires raging across Canada that have prompted mass evacuations in the province of Quebec.
Canadian officials have warned it could be the country’s worst wildfire season on record, with more than 6.7 million acres already burned.
AOC and Bernie Sanders warn that smoke from Canada’s wildfires is a sign of coming climate catastrophe
“It bears repeating how unprepared we are for the climate crisis,” said New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. writing on Twitter on Wednesday, referring to the smoke and the recent spike in temperatures in Puerto Rico. “We need to adapt our food systems, energy networks, infrastructure, healthcare, etc. as soon as possible to prepare for what is to come and catch up with what is already there.”
Fellow progressive Bernie Sanders issued a similar note, in writing on Twitter: “Right now 98 MILLION people on the East Coast are on air quality alert for Canadian fires and last night NYC had the worst air quality in the world.”
More details in our full story.
Josh MarcusJune 8, 2023 8:50 a.m.
Understanding Air Quality Alerts: What Does “Hazardous” Air Mean?
As smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada engulfs the east coast of the United States, air quality alerts in the “hazardous” category have been issued in some areas. But what exactly do ‘code red’, ‘very unhealthy’ or ‘dangerous’ alerts mean?
The Air Quality Index (AQI), presented on the Environmental Protection Agency website AirNow websiteuses a color-coded system to rank air quality on a 500-point scale, providing the public with an easy-to-understand assessment of the health effects of indoor air.
The lower end of the scale, which is green, represents healthy air, while the higher ends, color-coded red, purple, and brown, represent dangerous and extremely unhealthy conditions.
Currently, the air quality in New York is in the purple category, indicating hazardous conditions.
The AQI takes into account some key measures of air pollution, such as particulate pollution, ground-level ozone, and gases like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. With the smoke from the wildfires coming from Canada, these dangerous gases have increased in the atmosphere, especially the fine particles called PM2.5, which are a pollutant.
These pollutants can have a variety of health effects, often leading to respiratory system irritation, inflammation, and the potential development of diseases such as asthma and heart disease.
Scale levels are determined based on the concentration of pollutants in the air, measured in parts per million, over specific periods of time – usually one hour, eight hours or 24 hours, depending on the pollutant.
While an AQI of orange was unhealthy for vulnerable people, an AQI level of red is considered unhealthy for all individuals, with purple being considered “dangerous” for everyone.
There are various health advisories in place urging residents to limit outdoor activities and wear masks specifically designed to filter fine particles, such as N95 masks.
Stuti MishraJune 8, 2023 8:35 a.m.
Canadian wildfire evacuees ‘will not be able to return home until next week’
Thousands of residents in Canada remain displaced from their homes as raging wildfires continue to wreak havoc, in what has proven to be the “worst wildfire season ever”.
The current tally stands at more than 20,000 people evacuated, including about 11,400 people from remote areas of northern Quebec, as authorities fear the number will rise with the fires rapidly spreading their reach.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said evacuees will not be able to return to their communities until next week, CBC News reported.
Legault said the dry weather and strong winds are creating dangerous conditions and heavy smoke in areas that have been evacuated so far.
Stuti MishraJune 8, 2023 8:10 a.m.
Wildfires destroyed New York-based flights
Federal authorities have temporarily suspended flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport “due to low visibility” from smoke from wildfires smothering the East Coast.
Departures were blocked until 2 p.m. ET on June 7, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency also delayed flights from the upper U.S. Midwest and East Coast to LaGuardia.
Newark Liberty International Airport, another major travel hub nearby, also announced a ground delay. The airport said the ‘current state of the smoke’ could impact flights and urged travelers to check with their airlines ‘to determine the status of your flight’.
FAA traffic management officer Samuel Ausby said wind patterns bringing smoke to the northeast “could impact airport travel.” More than 16,200 flights were delayed and 79 flights were canceled as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to FlightAware.
Alex Woodward has the details.
Josh MarcusJune 8, 2023 07:50
All the do’s and don’ts to protect yourself from wildfire smoke
As wildfires continue to rage, air quality in New York City is expected to deteriorate for a few more days, forecasters say. But amid an ongoing climate crisis, many climate scientists are warning that wildfires could become more frequent and intense, leading to more air pollution.
Many officials have urged people to limit their time outdoors and wear masks to protect themselves from the smoke. In fact, smoke from wildfires carries a number of pollutants that can pose a number of dangerous risks and effects.
My colleague Meredith Clark has this list of do’s and don’ts to help you stay safe during the Code Red air quality alert.
Stuti MishraJune 8, 2023 7:33 a.m.
How long will the air pollution in New York last?
New York City has been blanketed in thick smoke for the past two days as air quality continues to fall, prompting health alerts across the northeastern United States.
However, it still seems like there is no end in sight as the weather systems are expected to barely move.
The smoky blanket rising from wildfires in Quebec and Nova Scotia and sending plumes of fine particles as far away as North Carolina may persist Thursday and possibly into the weekend, experts say.
It means at least another day, or more, of a dystopian-style detour that has driven players from ballparks, actors from Broadway stages, delayed thousands of flights and sparked a resurgence in mask-wearing and the remote working – while raising concerns about the health effects of prolonged exposure to such bad air.
The weather system chasing the large Canada-US smoke – a low-pressure system over Maine and Nova Scotia – “is likely to hang around for at least the next few days,” the US National Weather Service meteorologist said. Brian Ramsey.
“Since the fires are raging – they are really big – they will probably continue for weeks. But it will really be a matter of the changing winds.
The Independent‘s senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle has this wildfire smoke tracker where you can check where the pollution is heading next:
Stuti MishraJune 8, 2023 07:00
Video: George Washington Bridge disappears in smoke from Canadian wildfires
George Washington Bridge disappears in smoke from Canadian wildfires
Stuti MishraJune 8, 2023 6:36 a.m.
New York pollution soars as smoke from wildfires continues
The air quality over New York improved slightly on June 7 but deteriorated rapidly in the afternoon, reaching an air quality index of over 400 in parts of the city – the worst level in the world – and about 58 times the World Health Organization guidelines.
The federal government’s index for measuring air quality classifies anything over 300 as “hazardous.” By comparison, the weekend index was 20.
Josh MarcusJune 8, 2023 05:50
Photos from the apocalyptic day of wildfire smoke in New York
Skies over the northeastern United States, including New York, have been engulfed in smoke from Canada as around 400 wildfires continue to rage across the country.
Josh MarcusJune 8, 2023 04:50
Wildfire smoke shuts down several Broadway shows
Air quality in the US city has hit record highs after thick smoke billowed south from devastating wildfires in Canada.
An audience member at the matinee production of At first glance at the John Golden Theater told Deadline that Comer, 30, appeared on stage 10 minutes late.
Josh MarcusJune 8, 2023 03:50