Smoky haze from Canada’s wildfires engulfed New York on Wednesday
Smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Canada reached Europe on Friday after blanketing provinces and large parts of the United States in thick smoke this week.
And while the noxious smoke finally subsided in the northeast on Friday, fires were still a major threat.
More than 420 fires are raging across Canada, from British Columbia in the west to Nova Scotia in the east. At least half of those fires are out of control and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
While air quality improved Friday in major cities like New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia, pollution increased in central and southern states, including the cities of Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
Rising global temperatures, caused by emissions from burning fossil fuels, are driving larger and more erratic wildfires around the world. And it’s a vicious cycle: the emissions pumped into the atmosphere by the fires add to global warming, further drying out the land and vegetation, making them more susceptible to catching fire.
Forest fires cause heavy air pollution. So what causes forest fires?
Climatologists agree: although fires are part of the ecosystem in some regions, the climate crisis is making them more frequent and intense.
Dozens of studies have linked larger wildfires to global warming caused by emissions from burning fossil fuels. The past decade has been the hottest on record anywhere in the world.
Snowmelt earlier in the year, combined with droughts and higher temperatures, results in drier soil and vegetation ready to burn.
In the United States, the last National Climate Assessment, produced by the federal government, linked “man-made climate change” to increased wildfires.
Wildfires and climate change form a vicious cycle: the carbon pumped into the atmosphere by the fires increases global warming, dries out the land and vegetation further, making them more susceptible to catching fire.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:24 p.m.
NYC Mayor’s Office Talks Air Quality – Watch Live
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:32 p.m.
NYC and DC public schools cancel outdoor activities as wildfire smoke afflicts East Coast
New York and Washington DC have canceled outdoor activities at public schools as wildfire smoke from Canada darkens skies and creates unhealthy weather conditions in the northeastern United States.
Officials expect air quality to improve on June 7, but will likely deteriorate later in the day, forecasters said, after billowing smoke and smoky conditions triggered alerts in the whole region. Thirteen states have issued air quality alerts.
Heavy smoke is expected to drift through New York and Philadelphia through Wednesday afternoon. The smoke is expected to reach as far south as South Carolina.
My colleague Alex Woodward has more below.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:45 p.m.
Bladerunner-like skies in New York State
The National Weather Service in Binghamton, New York, about 200 miles from the Canadian border, shared this view of the skies to the Blade Runner on Wednesday morning.
“The sun is no longer visible, everything is orange, the lights in the parking lot have come on and we are stuck in 50°F,” the forecasters tweeted.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:05 p.m.
Masked residents, dark, hazy skies and a blood moon were among scenes across the northeastern United States that emerged late Tuesday and Wednesday due to plummeting air quality caused by the fires in forest in Canada.
Read Stuti Mishra’s report on the unprecedented scenes below.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:20 p.m.
Quebec orders more evacuations as dozens of wildfires in Canada remain out of control
According to the province’s wildfire prevention agency, more than 150 wildfires were burning in the province as of Tuesday, with more than 110 deemed to be out of control. Intense Canadian wildfires blanket the northeastern United States and parts of eastern Canada in a haze, turning the air acrid, skies yellowish gray and prompting vulnerable populations to stay indoors.
The effects of the hundreds of wildfires burning in Quebec could be felt as far as New York and New England, blotting horizons and irritating throats.
Late Tuesday, authorities issued an evacuation order for Chibougamau, Que., a town of about 7,500 people in the province’s remote region. Authorities said the evacuation was underway and promised more details on Wednesday.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:40 p.m.
What started the forest fires in Canada?
Canada is facing hundreds of intense wildfires that have spread from the western provinces to Quebec, many of which are out of control.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:01 p.m.
Air quality will deteriorate in New York City later Wednesday afternoon
Smoke will become denser in New York around 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday, forecasters said.
It is expected to be worse than it was around the Tuesday evening commute, the New York Metro Weather Twitter account posted.
Public authorities are advising New Yorkers to limit their time outdoors and wear a mask to protect themselves from air pollution. Low visibility will also be a problem.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:20 p.m.
Watch: Smoke from Canadian wildfires moves further south and blankets Washington DC
Canada DC Wildfire Smoke Blankets
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:40 p.m.
Climate activists call on New York lawmakers to take more action against fossil fuels
On Wednesday, activists demanded that New York lawmakers take faster action to tackle the fossil fuels driving the climate crisis from worsening wildfires and plummeting air quality .
They called on the state to pass the NY HEAT Act – aimed at making the transition to clean energy affordable and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
“Right now in New York City, it looks, feels and smells like dystopian climate disaster experts have been warning us for decades. But in the next 48 hours, the Assembly can pass a bill that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and protect New Yorkers from the toxic air that is becoming more dangerous with every second,” said Alex Beauchamp. , director of Food & Water Watch Northeast Region. .
“As New Yorkers choke on smoke, the Assembly fails to address the scale of the crisis. To keep New York from becoming a breathing hell increases our risk of asthma, the Assembly must pass NY HEAT now.
Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 6:01 p.m.