Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

Millions of people breathe dangerous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires billows south over the United States

NEW YORK (AP) Smoke from Canadian wildfires has poured into the East Coast and Midwest of the United States Wednesday, blanketing both nations’ capitals in an unhealthy haze, grounding flights at major airports, postponing Major League Baseball games and prompting people to dig up the face masks of the pandemic era.

Canadian officials have asked other countries for more help fight more than 400 wildfires nationwide that have already displaced 20,000 people. Dangerous levels of air pollution spread across the New York metropolitan area, central New York state, and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Huge tongues of unhealthy air extended as far north as North Carolina and Indiana, affecting millions.

I can taste the air, Dr. Ken Strumpf said in a Facebook post from Syracuse, New York, which was wrapped in a pall of amber. The smoke, he later said by phone, also made him a little dizzy.

The Air Quality Index, a United States Environmental Protection Agency metric for air pollution, has at times exceeded a staggering 400 in Syracuse, New York City, and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. A level of 50 or lower is considered good; anything above 300 is considered dangerous, when even healthy people are advised to reduce outdoor physical activity.

In Baltimore, Debbie Funk sported a blue surgical mask as she and husband, Jack Hughes, took their daily stroll around Fort McHenry, a national monument that overlooks the Patapsco River. The air hung thick over the water, darkening the horizon.

I went out this morning and it was like a cloud of smoke, Funk said.

Canadian officials say this is shaping up to be the nation’s worst fire season ever. It started early on drier than usual ground and accelerated very quickly, depleting firefighting resources across the country, firefighters and environmental officials said.

Smoke from fires in various parts of the country has reached the United States since last month, but has intensified with the recent fires in Quebec, where about 100 were deemed out of control on Wednesday which, ominously, was National Air Day cleaned in Canada.

The smoke was so thick in downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital, that the office towers just across the Ottawa River were barely visible. In Toronto, Yili Ma said her hiking plans were canceled and she was forgoing restaurant patios, a beloved Canadian summer tradition.

I put the mask away for over a year and have now been wearing it since yesterday, the 31-year-old complained.

Quebec Premier François Legault said the province currently has the capacity to fight about 40 fires and the usual reinforcements from other provinces were strained by the conflagrations in Nova Scotia and elsewhere.

Jennifer Kamau, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, said more than 950 firefighters and other personnel had arrived from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with more to come soon.

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada. His administration has reached out to some US governors and local officials to provide assistance, he said.

Northern Quebec’s largest city, Chibougamau, with a population of about 7,500, was evacuated on Tuesday, and Legault said the roughly 4,000 residents of the northern Cree town of Mistissini would likely have to leave on Wednesday. But later, Mistissini’s boss Michael Petawabano said his community remains safe and asked residents to wait for instructions from Cree officials.

Eastern Quebec had rain Wednesday, but Montreal-based Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault said no significant rain was expected for days in remote areas of central Quebec, where fires are most intense.

U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Taylor said the current weather pattern in the central and eastern United States is essentially funneling into smoke. Some rain should help clear some air in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this weekend or early next week, though more complete relief will come from containing or extinguishing the wildfires, he said. said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said 1 million N95 masks will be available at state facilities. New York City beaches were closed and Mayor Eric Adams told residents to stay indoors as much as possible as smoke stained the horizon. The Bronx and Central Park zoos closed early and brought their animals inside. The popular Shakespeare in the Park show has been cancelled.

The Federal Aviation Administration suspended some flights to LaGuardia Airport and slowed planes to Newark Liberty and Philadelphia because smoke limited visibility. It also helped delay arrivals at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, where a thick haze shrouded the Washington Monument and forced the cancellation of outdoor tours.

Major League Baseball has postponed games in New York and Philadelphia, and even an indoor WNBA game in Brooklyn has been cancelled. On Broadway, Killing Eve star Jodie Comer had trouble breathing and left the matinee after 10 minutes; the show has restarted with a replacement, the show’s publicists said.

Schools in multiple states have canceled sports and other outdoor activities, moving recess indoors. Live horse racing was canceled Wednesday and Thursday at Delaware Park in Wilmington. Organizers of Global Running Day, a virtual 5K, advised attendees to adjust their plans based on air quality.

New Jersey closed state offices early, and some political rallies in venues from Manhattan to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were moved indoors or postponed. Hollywood’s extraordinary writers have been pulled off the picket lines in the New York metropolitan area.

Smoking has exacerbated the health problems of people like Vicki Burnett, 67, who suffers from asthma and has had severe bouts of bronchitis.

After walking his dogs Wednesday morning in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Burnett said, I went in and started coughing and went back to bed.

However, she stressed that she was worried about Canadians, not just herself.

It’s a shame, and I have problems with it, but there should be help for them, she said.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Contributors were Associated Press reporters Randall Chase of Dover, Delaware; Michael Hill in Albany, New York; David Koenig in Dallas; Aamer Madhani in Washington; Brooke Schultz in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Lea Skene in Baltimore; Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan; and Mark Kennedy, Jake Offenhartz, Karen Matthews and Julie Walker in New York.

___

This story corrected the attribution of Quebec rain forecast material to Montreal-based meteorologist Simon Legault of Environment Canada, not Quebec Premier François Legault.

#Millions #people #breathe #dangerous #air #smoke #Canadian #wildfires #billows #south #United #States

How to protect your pet from poor air quality amid wildfire smoke

A person walks dogs along the Brooklyn promenade Wednesday as the Manhattan skyline is shrouded in haze after smoke billows south from wildfires in Canada.

Pets

June 7, 2023 | 6.30pm


Keep Sparky away from Smokey!

New York City’s air was officially deemed more polluted than any other major city in the world on Wednesday, as thick smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Canada crept into the city for a second day.

As clouds of smoke continue to choke much of the Northeast over the weekend, residents in affected areas are wondering how to protect themselves and their loved ones, including man’s best friend.

The air quality index already reached 343 on Wednesday afternoon, much worse than New Delhi’s 190 and New York’s normal index of 100.

The air was the worst since the 1980s, even after the 9/11 attacks, meteorologists said.

Rover’s pet experts are considering ways to protect pets from dangerous conditions, suggesting:

  • Close all windows
  • Use air conditioning if possible to help filter the air
  • Keep potty breaks short, avoid long walks and other prolonged outdoor exercise
  • Keep your dog well hydrated

A person walks dogs along the Brooklyn promenade Wednesday as the Manhattan skyline is shrouded in haze after smoke billows south from wildfires in Canada.
REUTERS

Times Square takes on an eerie orange glow in the wake of the wildfires in Canada.
REUTERS

Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is in humans and can lead to increased or chronic coughing, sneezing and red, squinting or runny eyes.

In severe cases, some pets may experience disorientation or confusion, fainting, seizures, difficulty breathing, weakness or lethargy, uncoordinated walking/inability to stand, excessive salivation, prolonged open mouth breathing, swelling of the mouth or upper airways , vomiting or loss of appetite.

Experts advise pet lovers to watch out for signs of respiratory distress and eye inflammation. If a pet is showing symptoms, owners should call a veterinarian right away.

While pet parents may do their best to keep their four-legged friends safe and sound, some dogs are at an increased risk of suffering from respiratory problems, including dogs with asthma or bronchitis, puppies and older dogs, bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs.


A lone person jogs a dog along the Hudson River shortly after dawn Wednesday. Smoke inhalation in pets can be as serious a problem as it is for humans, experts warn.
REUTERS

Bronx subway passengers wait for a train in the haze of smoke from the wildfires drifting down from Canada.
Getty Images

A person wears a mask as the Empire State Building is shrouded in smoke.
REUTERS

Fido isn’t the only one protected from bad weather.

Zoos in the Bronx, Central Park and Queens are all closing in an effort to protect the animals from the thick clouds of smoke.

Everything you need to know about smoke from NYC wildfires

New York City’s air has been heavily polluted with thick smoke from the Canadian wildfires burning hundreds of miles away.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned residents to stay inside to avoid exposure.

The haze wafting from Quebec posed a threat to healthy adults as well.



New York’s air quality has become one of the worst in the world as ominous orange smog from wildfires near Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia continues to settle in the region, according to IQair.

Air quality is expected to remain hazardous throughout the weekend.

TO KNOW MORE

All five boroughs were under an air quality health alert through Thursday morning as winds drove southward smoke from more than 150 forest fires in Quebec, 110 of which were thought to be out of control .

Unhealthy air and smoke are expected to persist in the five boroughs through Sunday.




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When to expect air quality to improve in the US amid wildfires in Canada

PHOTO: In a view toward Brooklyn, boats maneuver the East River near the Manhattan Bridge, left, and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, June 7, 2023.

Canadian wildfires are sweeping states as far away as Georgia, with New York City experiencing some of the worst air quality in the world.

Wind conditions that are carrying smoke plumes south are expected to last for several more days, experts say, as some wildfires in Canada continue to burn out of control.

PHOTO: In a view toward Brooklyn, boats maneuver the East River near the Manhattan Bridge, left, and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, June 7, 2023.

In a view toward Brooklyn boats maneuver the East River near the Manhattan Bridge, left, and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, June 7, 2023.

Alyssa Goodman/AP

The smoke is mainly from several wildfires burning in Quebec that are being driven south in a narrow band by an intense storm system around Nova Scotia that hasn’t moved in several days, according to Mark Wysocki, an air pollution forecaster who teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

“The smoke plumes from these fires, as they go up, will all be concentrated in a very narrow type of river, and they will be carried south right through us,” Wysocki told ABC News. “The problem is, there’s no chance for the pollutants to disperse. They’ll just be held together in a high concentration.”

“As long as you’re under that plume, you’re going to have the highest amount,” he continued.

PHOTO: A smoky haze from wildfires in Canada blankets a neighborhood, June 7, 2023, in the Bronx, New York.

A haze of smoke from wildfires in Canada blankets a neighborhood, June 7, 2023, in the Bronx, New York.

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

New York City shattered its record for the highest air quality index since records began in 1999 on Wednesday, as skies turned an eerie orange. The city approached 500 on the AQI Wednesday night, which placed it in the worst category — dangerous — on the U.S. government’s air quality tracker.

“We’re in a very unusual situation here because we have significant wildfires going on in eastern Canada, which isn’t as common as having those kinds of fires happening in western North America where the climate is drier. So that’s unusual in itself,” Tony Broccoli, a professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told ABC News. “And we also have a particularly persistent weather pattern that is carrying the smoke from those wildfires south into the northeastern part of the United States.”

“Both of those things are unusual individually; to have them happening at the same time is very unusual,” she continued.

Wysocki and Broccoli said wind conditions carrying the smoke south should change by the end of the week. As the intense storm over Nova Scotia gradually shifts to the northeast, winds will begin to shift over parts of Ontario where wildfires aren’t as large, Wysocki said.

“This should improve our air quality down here, at least in the northeast,” he said.

Until then, officials in far southern Georgia are advising residents to watch out for poor air quality conditions as wildfires in Canada burn.

More than 400 fires are currently active across Canada, with nearly 240 considered out of control, Canadian officials said Wednesday.

Current projections show there will be “above normal” fire activity across Canada during the 2023 wildfire season due to warm temperatures and dry, drier conditions, according to Natural Resources of Canada.

PHOTO: The Olympic Stadium as Montreal is enveloped in smog, June 6, 2023, in Montreal, Canada.

The Montreal Olympic Stadium is enveloped in smog, June 6, 2023, in Montreal, Canada.

Andrei Ivanov/AFP via Getty Images

“Our models show that this could be a particularly severe bushfire season throughout the summer,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference earlier this week.

It’s too early to predict whether windy conditions will lead to parts of the United States seeing a repeat of the current prolonged, poor air quality conditions during fire season, Broccoli said. There could also be fast-moving storms that affect air quality for only a few hours, Wysocki said.

However, smoke will continue to be a concern this summer from the Great Lakes area to the Northeast as wildfires burn in remote and hard-to-reach areas in Canada, according to Wysocki.

“It’s not exactly a good situation we’re in this summer,” Wysocki said. “There is no end in sight for these [fires] be put out”.

#expect #air #quality #improve #wildfires #Canada

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

Real-Time Air Quality Updates: Smoke from Canadian bushfires affects millions of people across the United States

14 million ago / 4:04 PM EDT

UN secretary-general calls for more efforts to limit wildfires in a warming world

15 million ago / 4:03 PM EDT

Google tells employees in New York and along the East Coast to work from home

Google is telling its East Coast employees to stay home as smoke from wildfires fills the air in New York and other major cities.

Managers at the company’s New York site wrote in a memo to area workers that air quality in many parts of the region had reached unhealthy levels, citing the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation. In New York, most employees are expected to work from physical offices at least three days a week.

We’re advising Googlers to work from home if possible and limit their exposure to the outside air, according to the note, obtained by CNBC. The terraces on our New York campus will be closed today.

Read the full story at CNBC.com

29 million ago / 3:49 pm EDT

Striking images show the New York skyline on Monday compared to today

34 million ago / 3:44 pm EDT

Black residents of Detroit prepare for tougher conditions

Detroit’s air quality is among the worst in the world due to wildfires in Canada, potentially exacerbating many health issues that residents of the predominantly black city have struggled with for generations.

Detroit resident Sandra Turner-Handy, a Michigan Environmental Council retiree, said that before the fires, locals regularly breathed in particulate matter and other toxins. She said she is particularly concerned about the effects of the fires on those who live near the Detroit River, an area sought after for industrial use and which contains high levels of pollution.

He said Detroit’s asthma rates are three times those of other cities in our state.

Turner-Handy, who has emphysema, a lung disease that causes wheezing, calls Detroit’s pollution problem an environmental injustice and worries how smoking could spread in her area, potentially impacting her own health .

I fear anything that will impact my respiratory health, she said. I am very afraid.

Communities of color and low-income populations are exposed to higher levels of atmospheric fine particulate matter PM2.5 than other groups in the United States, according to a study conducted last year by Harvard University. A 2020 survey by the Environmental Defense Fund found that 58 percent of black adults living in Detroit are twice as likely as white residents to worry about air pollution in their communities. Poor air quality conditions are even worse in regions like Southwest Detroit, whose residents experience asthma hospitalization rates three times the state average.

Experts like Jessie Singer, author of There Are No Accidents, said recent air pollution only illustrates the ways Black communities are made more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change through infrastructure and policy decisions. For example, blacks are more likely to live where there is greater exposure to air pollution due to residential segregation, according to the American Lung Association.

Systemic racism defines whether or not you have the excess money to have an air cleaner in your home, Singer said. If you have less access to health care, if you grow up in a polluted environment, if you don’t have the economic freedom to take time off work, then when a fire happens, you’re more vulnerable.

32 million ago / 3:46 pm EDT

Jodie Comer-starring Broadway show briefly halted after star has ‘difficulty breathing’

Today’s matinee performance of the Broadway production of “Prima Facie” was briefly interrupted after the show’s star, Emmy Award-winning actor Jodie Comer, experienced “difficulty breathing,” according to a production spokeswoman.

The show was “interrupted approximately 10 minutes into the show after Jodie Comer had difficulty breathing due to poor air quality in New York City due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires,” a spokeswoman for The Press Room, a theatrical advertising company.

The spokeswoman said the performance had to start “from the top” with understudy Dani Arlington filling in for Comer as Tessa.

Comer is best known for her co-starring role in the twisty BBC America spy thriller ‘Killing Eve’.

1 hour ago / 3:13pm EDT

New York City’s air quality is officially the worst in the world

Current air quality in New York City reached more than 340 on the air quality index scale this afternoon, making it the worst in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss monitoring service.

49 million ago / 3:29 pm EDT

Is it safe to exercise outdoors when the air quality is poor?

As air quality continues to plummet, runners may want to rethink their plans, experts say.

An air quality index above 150 signals that outdoor exercise can be risky, said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, pulmonologist of the American Lung Association.

It’s like swimming in polluted water, he said.

You’ll get irritated, probably 20 minutes into the ride, Galiatsatos said. You’ll develop a cough, a little dryness, and you might even get a little more out of breath because what you’re trying to do is some level of resistance, but your lungs aren’t breathing healthy air, they’re breathing toxins, they’re breathing noxious stimuli. You will feel that toll.

Read the full story here.

46 million ago / 3:32 pm EDT

414 wildfires in Canada, more than 200 of which are out of control

There are 414 wildfires burning in Canada to date, 239 of which are considered out of control, Canadian Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said at a news conference.

To date, approximately 20,183 people remain displaced from homes and communities.

It’s all hands on deck and it’s been all day, Blair said of the government’s response to the fires.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said hundreds of members of the military have been deployed to provide additional support to firefighters and affected communities.

Washington is also lending support, with the US Forest Service providing 648 people to date.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters today that President Joe Biden was briefed on the fires last week and has been updated regularly since. The United States has also sent equipment such as water bombers, he said.


#RealTime #Air #Quality #Updates #Smoke #Canadian #bushfires #affects #millions #people #United #States

Virginia Air Board approves Youngkin’s plan to withdraw state from RGGI

Virginia Air Board approves Youngkin's plan to withdraw state from RGGI

Regulators in RICHMOND, Va., Voted Wednesday to withdraw the state from an auction-based carbon emission reduction program along with 10 other East Coast states.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Air Pollution Control Board, Virginia Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles introduced the finalized repeal of the regulation the state uses to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The board passed it 4 to 3. It will go to the Virginia executive branch and Governor Glenn Youngkin for their approval. If they sign, it will be posted on the Virginia Register, and 30 days later, it will go into effect.

The RGGI program sets caps on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that will become stricter over time in 11 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

Electric companies must acquire shares for every short ton of carbon dioxide they emit, which are distributed in quarterly shares. Proceeds go to energy efficiency programs for low-income Virginians and the Community Flood Preparedness Fund.

Youngkin has strongly criticized the program, arguing that it doesn’t actually incentivize electric companies to reduce emissions and serves as a tax on Virginians. He also stressed his belief that his administration could withdraw through regulatory action rather than new legislation.

READ MORE | Youngkin says he can withdraw Virginia from RGGI under current law

The lengthy regulatory process began when the Youngkin administration submitted a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) to the Air Pollution Control Board in September 2022, followed by a 30-day public comment period.

Months after that period ended, the administration filed an effective repeal of the RGGI regulation, which was followed by another public comment period, this time for 60 days, which ended on March 31.

Throughout the process, Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups have opposed the administration’s move, saying the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act enacted in 2022 requires the state to be a part of RGGI.

Youngkin praised the board’s decision in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Today’s common-sense decision by the Air Board to repeal RGGI protects Virginians from the failed program that is not only a regressive tax on households and businesses across the Commonwealth but does nothing to reduce pollution, Youngkin wrote in a press release

Attorney Nate Benforado of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), a group long opposed to Youngkin’s efforts on RGGI, said it was “a disappointing day.”

“With this action, the administration decided it would rather circumvent the law than listen to the General Assembly and the clear voice of Virginians who know RGGI is working,” Benforado wrote.

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters (LCV) also called voting “illegal”.

“Today’s rigged Air Board vote by Governor Youngkin is a blatant endgame around the Legislature and a handout to big polluters at the expense of Virginia communities that are now on their own to fight dangerous floods,” the executive director wrote. Virginia LCV Michael Town in a press release.

Jay Ford, Virginia counsel for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, shared a statement saying the repeal of the RGGI “will delay efforts to protect Virginia homes and businesses from flooding” and slow work to restore rivers and torrents.

“Participation in RGGI is more important than ever as climate change adds new challenges to the restoration of Chesapeake Bay,” Ford wrote. “About one-third of the nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay comes from air pollution that eventually lands on land or water.”

#Virginia #Air #Board #approves #Youngkins #plan #withdraw #state #RGGI

Smoke from wildfires makes New York City’s air quality worst in the world

Animation showing smoke from a wildfire in the eastern United States

Millions of people in the eastern United States and Canada received health warnings from environmental regulators as thick smoke from northern bushfires wafted through cities from Ottawa to New York.

Canada has been battling an active wildfire season with wildfires in most of its 10 provinces and territories for most of last month. Smoke from the wildfires wafted south through some of North America’s most populous cities this week.

New York’s air quality ranked Wednesday as the worst of any major urban area in the world, surpassing New Delhi, according to the IQAir World Air Quality Index.

New York residents have once again donned the masks they had recently abandoned as the Covid-19 emergency subsided. Schools have canceled outdoor activities and the city has urged vulnerable New Yorkers to stay inside and keep their windows closed.

Animation showing smoke from a wildfire in the eastern United States

Yesterday, New Yorkers saw and smelled something that had never hit us on this scale before, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday morning, noting that the event sent shockwaves throughout the city.

After easing Wednesday morning, New York officials predicted that conditions would deteriorate again into the afternoon and into the evening, calling it a multi-day event. The U.S. aviation regulator on Wednesday afternoon issued ground delays for flights to LaGuardia Airports in Philadelphia, Newark and New York, citing poor visibility for pilots.

Washington public schools also suspended outdoor activities for pupils as the city’s environmental regulator issued a Code Red air quality alert for the District of Columbia.

Canada’s environmental regulator has classified air quality in Ottawa, the country’s capital, as having the highest level of health risk. Large swathes of Quebec and Ontario have been subject to an air quality alert by Canadian authorities.

Smoke rises from fires in Quebec and Ontario in a satellite image

Smoke rises from wildfires in Quebec and Ontario in an AP satellite image

Smoke from wildfires in Montreal, Quebec

Smoke from wildfires in Montreal, Quebec Allen McInnis/Bloomberg

Earlier this spring, fires in Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and forced more than a dozen oil and gas companies to temporarily shut down or reduce operations.

More fires have now taken hold in the forests of eastern provinces such as Quebec and Nova Scotia. More than 400 wildfires have been active across Canada as of Wednesday, with about 4 million hectares burned so far this year, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

Scientists have observed that fires in the northern hemisphere’s boreal forests have increased in intensity over the past decade, with average temperatures across the planet’s north rising faster than near the equator due to global warming, such as snow reflective and the ice of the arctic has melted.

Fires north of the equator are generally becoming more frequent and intense as the planet warms and summers get hotter. May 2023 ranked globally as the second warmest May on record, according to the EU’s Copernicus Observation Service.

Heat records were broken in parts of Asia, particularly China and Vietnam, where unseasonably warm weather kicked in months earlier than the usual July and August summers. Parts of Siberia also set all-time records last week.

Sea surface temperatures were the highest on record for the month and have been at near record highs since March.

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#Smoke #wildfires #York #Citys #air #quality #worst #world

New York City’s Hazardous Air Quality: How Long Will It Last? How can I stay safe?

Midtown Manhattan buildings and the Statue of Liberty are shrouded in smoke from Wednesday's Canadian wildfires.

The cough-inducing yellow-orange haze that has suffocated New York City and created dangerous air quality conditions is caused by smoke that has been blown southward from hundreds of Canadian wildfires.

A low-pressure system pushes the smoke towards the five boroughs and holds it close to the ground, creating some of the worst weather conditions in the world. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory for the city through midnight Wednesday.

Typically this smoke is elevated 10,000 feet above our heads, but when this vertical mixing process occurs in the atmosphere, it mixes the air back towards the surface, meteorologist John Homenuk said.

Midtown Manhattan buildings and the Statue of Liberty are shrouded in smoke from Wednesday's Canadian wildfires.

Air quality improved a bit Wednesday morning, but the respite will be short-lived.

As of Wednesday morning, the smoke had risen higher into the atmosphere, improving air quality and visibly slightly. But starting around 2 or 3 p.m., the smoke is expected to fall closer to the ground, making air quality more dangerous.

We will see the smoke return to the surface, just like we did yesterday afternoon and evening, he said. It will be quite similar, if not perhaps slightly worse, in reality than yesterday, Homenuk said.

City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said the air quality advisory remains in place until midnight Wednesday but that he expects it will likely be extended beyond that, potentially over the weekend.

We expect this to be a multi-day event, so we expect that notice to remain in effect for the next few days, he said.

Pedestrians walk past One World Trade Center, downtown, amid a smoky haze caused by wildfires in Canada, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in New York.

There is a silver lining, though. By Thursday, the situation will start to improve, although air quality won’t fully return to normal until after the weekend.

There will still be smoke overhead and some near the surface, but it won’t be as bad as it has been in recent days, Homenuk said.

Young people, the elderly and people with underlying health problems should stay indoors and keep windows closed. Everyone else should also limit their outdoor exposure and take precautions.

Don’t exercise outdoors and seriously consider postponing your picnic plans. Throughout the city, outdoor concerts and other activities were being canceled.

The main thing is to limit exposure to outdoors and of course any strenuous activity. You don’t want to be out of breath and breathing in this stuff all day, if you can help it, Homenuk said.

A man talks on his phone as he looks through the haze at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

With all the nasty air particles floating around, experts say you should wear a mask if you venture outside.

Just as with COVID, the stronger the mask, the better, though any face covering is better than none, said Ramn Tallaj, a physician who leads SOMOS Community Care, a nonprofit health network.

Tallaj had a suggestion for those who may only have surgical masks on hand: Flip the mask so the smoother blue side is on the inside, near your mouth.

Surgeons use it with the blue side out, because they don’t want their mouths and breath to enter patients during surgery, Tallaj said. In this case, it’s the other way around. You don’t want the [particles] to come to you.

But otherwise, N95 masks are the best.

It is the masks that will filter out these particles most effectively. So if you still have an N95 mask or want to get one, it’s advisable to wear one because they filter out harmful particles, at least to some extent, Homenuk said.

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You’ll know you’ve been affected if your eyes start to itch or watery, if you develop a cough or shortness of breath, and your throat may hurt. If you don’t have any pre-existing conditions like asthma or a heart condition, these symptoms can fade within days as long as the air quality improves.

For people with conditions like asthma, heart disease, or other respiratory conditions, smoking can be dangerous.

Barbara Mann, a pulmonologist at the Mount Sinai-National Jewish Respiratory Institute, said poor air quality leads to an increased risk of heart attacks and respiratory conditions such as asthma.

People sit in Brooklyn Bridge Park as smoke from wildfires in Canada causes foggy conditions in New York City on June 7, 2023.

Mayor Eric Adams canceled outdoor activities in New York City public schools today and is telling New Yorkers to limit outdoor activities as much as possible. The city health department says they are monitoring the situation.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality health advisory for New York, Bronx, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties, as well as surrounding suburbs, extending through midnight Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Health recommends that people consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.

Adams and his administration are facing criticism after waiting until late Tuesday night to issue a notice about canceling school outdoor activities, causing some confusion among parents and teachers about how to proceed.

#York #Citys #Hazardous #Air #Quality #Long #stay #safe

Doctors warn of poor air quality health effects as smoke from Canadian bushfires blows across East Coast

Doctors warn of poor air quality health effects as smoke from Canadian bushfires blows across East Coast

A thick haze conquering the skies of much of the northeastern United States has prompted numerous cities to urge people to stay indoors, and for good reason. THE smoke from fires in Canada it has increased air pollution to levels that could cause health problems for exposed people, especially people from vulnerable groups.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, smoke from wildfires is a “complex mixture” of pollutants that can cause anywhere from minor to severe health effects. This is because the particulate matter within the smoke irritates the respiratory system, affecting the body’s ability to function even among those who are healthy, and even a short-term exposure of just a few days can have serious repercussions.

‘Sensitive groups’, including children, the elderly, pregnant people and people with pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular problems, are the most vulnerable to these impacts.

“The particulate matter in this haze is significant because it irritates the bronchial tubes, the little tubes that go down into the lungs and connect to the alveoli, which are the sacs that allow you to breathe,” Dr. Bob Lahita, a rheumatologist, said. he told CBS News, saying that anyone from sensitive groups should avoid going outside.

According to the National Weather Service, “poor air quality can be dangerous.” Here’s what to look out for.

Headache, irritation and fatigue

Among the milder symptoms when it comes to the health effects of poor air quality are headaches, sinus and eye irritation, and fatigue. While not as severe as other potential effects, they could cause significant discomfort or worsen other impacts.

“If you look at your car this morning and it’s been parked outside and there’s a thin layer of soot on top of your car, well, often it’s going to be inside your lung, inside your chest,” Lahita said. “And that’s a big deal. A lot of people can’t tolerate it and will be coughing and sneezing all day.”

Breathing problems

Those with pre-existing respiratory problems, including asthma, are more susceptible to the impacts of poor air quality fueled by wildfires. Difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, sore throats, bronchitis, reduced lung function, coughing and chest pains are all health effects of fire smoke and poor air quality. And according to the EPA, it often leads to an “increased risk” of emergency room visits.

You don’t have to be in a direct line of fires to have those impacts.

“Pollution from wildfire smoke can go up to 14 miles into the air and then be carried by wind currents, which is why it affects everyone,” Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist Neha Solanki said in 2021. “So even if you don’t live directly next to the fires, you’re still exposed to all that toxic pollution.”

More than 9.3 million acres have been “charred” by dozens of ongoing wildfires in Canada, The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams said on “CBS Mornings” Wednesday. And the smoke that has since drifted across the United States”it might last for a while.”

“There will be heavy smoke pollution through at least Saturday, especially in the Northeast,” he said.

Cardiovascular problems

Similar to respiratory problems, pre-existing cardiovascular problems are also a concern when it comes to air quality. Heart failure, heart attack and stroke are all possible when exposed to poor air quality, even for short periods of time. Chronic heart problems, such as congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, have been linked to premature death.

Weakened immune system

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is evidence that smoke inhalation weakens the immune system.

“We breathe in smoke and it enters our bloodstream,” Dr. Solanki said. “Then the particles stick to a location in our body and the immune system kicks in and can create an inflammatory response.”

In 2021, a Harvard study found that thousands of COVID cases and deaths in California, Oregon and Washington could be linked to increased air pollution from smoke from wildfires.

How bad is the air quality?

On Wednesday, CNYwhich typically scores “good” on the Air Quality Index, ended up with one of the highest amounts of air pollution in global cities monitored at a level considered “unhealthy” by national standards.

Much of the Northeast was below the same “unhealthy” level Wednesday morning, according to federal monitoring, with some areas — including parts of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland reaching “very unhealthy” levels, the which means that the general population, not just sensitive groups, is susceptible to health impacts.


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New York Code Red Air Quality Alert issued after live fire updates in Canada

New York Code Red Air Quality Alert issued after live fire updates in Canada

Orange smog envelops Ottawa as wildfires in Canada continue to fill the skies

New York City woke Wednesday to another day of dark, smoke-filled skies as it remained, for now, one of the worst places in the world for air pollution.

The Big Apple is currently second only to New Delhi when it comes to air pollution levels.

New Yorkers have been advised to limit their time outdoors and wear masks to protect themselves from the smoke.

The entire northeastern United States is battling smoke drifting south from more than 400 wildfires raging in Canada, which have led to mass evacuations in the province of Quebec. Canadian officials have warned that this could be the country’s worst bushfire season on record, with more than 6.7 million acres already burned.

The air quality index is currently at unhealthy levels across New York and other major cities as public officials encourage residents to limit outdoor activities to absolute necessities.

At least 10 school districts in central New York have canceled outdoor activities, including recess and exercise classes.

Climate scientists agree: While 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.

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Public schools in New York and DC cancel outdoor activities as smoke from wildfires haunts the East Coast

New York City and Washington DC have canceled outdoor activities in public schools as smoke from wildfires billowing out of Canada clouds the skies and creates unhealthy weather across the northeastern United States.

Officials expect air quality to improve on June 7 but likely to worsen later in the day, according to forecasters, after mouth-watering smoke and polluted conditions set off alarms across the region. Thirteen states have issued air quality advisories.

Thick smoke was expected to roll over New York and Philadelphia through Wednesday afternoon. The smoke should reach as far south as South Carolina.

My colleague Alex Woodward has more below.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:45 pm

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New York City Mayors Office Talks Air Quality – Watch Live

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:32 pm

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The fires are causing heavy air pollution. So what’s causing the fires?

Climate scientists agree: While 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 last decade has been the warmest on record globally.

Melt snow earlier in the year, combined with droughts and warmer temperatures, leads to drier soil and vegetation that are ready to burn.

In the United States, the latest National Climate Assessment, produced by the federal government, linked man-made climate change with an increase in wildfires.

Forest fires and climate change form a vicious circle: the carbon released into the atmosphere by fires increases global warming, further drying the land and vegetation, making it more susceptible to fires.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:24 pm

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What is the air quality index?

The phrase Air Quality Index is popping up on social media and in public officials announcements, so what is it? The Air Quality Index (AQI) is what the US Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies use to report on air quality.

The index ranges from 0 to 500 and the higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and health impacts.

An AQI below 50 is good air quality – over 300 is dangerous. For context, the AQI in my part of the New York City area right now is 153, which is an unhealthy level, particularly for young children and those with underlying health conditions like asthma and other illnesses. cardiac.

The color-coded air quality index

(AQI)

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 3:11 pm

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New York City wakes up to another smoke-filled day

The Manhattan skyline shrouded in smoke from wildfires in Canada on June 7, 2023

(REUTERS)

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 2:24 pm

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ICYMI: New York becomes world’s most polluted metropolitan city amid smoke from Canadian wildfires

Air quality in New York City was 174 Wednesday, a level considered unhealthy for all as Mayor Eric Adams urged residents to mask.

Here’s everything you need to know about the air quality collapse and current advisories:

Stuti MishraJune 7, 2023 1:15 pm

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Do air purifiers work?

Faced with deteriorating outdoor air quality in New York City and much of the northeastern United States and Canada, many people seek refuge indoors, assuming that the air inside their homes or workplaces is safe and clean.

However, indoor air pollution can also be a significant concern with pollutants from outside entering our homes. That’s where air purifiers come in, which promise to remove harmful pollutants and improve indoor air quality.

But how effective an air purifier is for cleaner, healthier indoor environments depends on several factors.

Air purifiers are designed to target specific pollutants, such as dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Different models of air purifiers employ various filtration technologies, such as HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, activated carbon filters, or electrostatic precipitators.

With raging fires, fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 increases, which has a known impact on the respiratory system and causes cardiovascular disease.

By some estimates, a good quality HEPA filter reduces indoor smoke pollution by about 50-80%.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters can also be beneficial for people with allergies. They can effectively trap and remove common allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores and pet dander, providing relief for allergy sufferers and improving overall comfort.

While activated carbon filters play a crucial role in eliminating unpleasant odors and reducing exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals.

To maximize the effectiveness of air purifiers, it is also important to consider the size of the purifier in relation to the room, as well as clean air delivery rate (CADR) and air changes per hour (ACH) specifications .

Regular maintenance, such as filter replacement and proper cleaning, is essential to ensure optimum performance.

Stuti MishraJune 7, 2023 12:46

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Washington DC prepares for “code red” air pollution today.

The Washington DC area found itself under an air quality alert code orange yesterday, indicating high levels of pollution in the air that could pose health risks to vulnerable individuals.

Conditions today are expected to worsen for DC residents, potentially reaching code red levels.

Clean Air Partners, which provides air quality forecasts for the Washington-Baltimore region, forecast code red conditions for Baltimore today, while worsening conditions are expected to reach Washington tomorrow. Some areas will still be under code orange.

Code orange refers to the 101-150 range of the Air Quality Index, which runs from 0 to 500. This range is considered unhealthy for vulnerable people and exceeds moderate levels of air pollution.

The graph shows AQI levels from 0 to 500

(Screengraf/IQAir)

Code red, however, is the unhealthy range for all individuals where anyone who goes out into polluted air feels discomfort.

According to the EPA’s AirNow webpage, during code red conditions, some members of the general public may experience health effects, while individuals in sensitive groups may experience more serious health consequences.

Stuti MishraJune 7, 2023 12:00

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What to do when the air quality is “unhealthy”

As air quality plummets and fine particle pollution levels rise in the northeastern United States and Canada due to raging wildfires, several health and safety alerts are afoot.

With AQI levels currently showing 174 for New York, authorities are urging residents to take appropriate steps to safeguard their health, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

The air quality advisories specifically highlight the risk to “sensitive groups,” which include children, older adults, and individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Among these groups, children are particularly susceptible due to their developing lungs and higher inhalation rates relative to body weight.

The impact of poor air quality is greatest on the lungs and heart.

Most notices right now are urging residents to limit outdoor activities, especially during peak pollution hours. When venturing outside becomes necessary, residents are advised to wear a properly fitted mask designed to filter out fine particles such as PM2.5.

Stuti MishraJune 7, 2023 11:30

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Detroit is the most polluted after New York as Michigan’s air quality remains poor

The most polluted city after New York is Detroit, which continues to remain in the top 10 polluted cities of the IQAir ranking.

The Swiss tech company tracking air quality levels shows New York currently topping the list, surpassing Delhi, Kuwait and Baghdad, while Detroit currently ranks sixth above Dhaka and Calcutta.

When New York’s pollution levels dropped briefly yesterday, New York and Detroit were in second and third place.

Here’s what Michigan’s AQI levels have been like so far:

Air quality advisories have been in place since Monday in parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as smoke engulfed several cities bringing hazy skies.

Sleeping areas in some parts of the state were expected to see some improvement, however, Detroit remains in the “very poor” category.

A brief relief is expected in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, but the poor air quality should continue for a long time.

Stuti MishraJune 7, 2023 11:06

#York #Code #Red #Air #Quality #Alert #issued #live #fire #updates #Canada

Smoke from wildfires: Millions of people in North America face dangerous air quality, due to wildfires in Canada

The sun rises over a smoky New York City skyline.

More than 400 active wildfires erupted across Canada Tuesday night, according to authorities, exacerbating a wildfire season that has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, created a sense of anxiety across the country and triggered air quality alerts hundreds of miles south in the United States.

The danger from wildfires, which in recent weeks have stretched from British Columbia on the west coast to Nova Scotia nearly 2,900 miles away to the east, was driven home Tuesday in the nation’s political heartland. A thick haze hung over Parliament Hill and the imposing neo-Gothic building that houses the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. The sun was obscured by smoke, the sky an apocalyptic orange hue.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said hundreds of soldiers have been deployed across the country to help with firefighting efforts. This is a scary time for many people, Trudeau said earlier this week, noting that many Canadians who have had to evacuate in recent days have only had a few hours to pack before fleeing their homes.

Bill Blair, the minister of emergency preparedness, told reporters last week that in May an area of ​​about 2.7 million hectares, or about 6.7 million acres, of forest in Columbia Britannica, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and the Northwest Territories had been burned. The equivalent of more than 5 million football pitches have burned in Canada so far this year, he wrote on Twitter.

In a country known for its picturesque landscapes and order, out-of-control fires have fueled unease and underlined the dangers of global warming. Scientific research suggests that heat and drought associated with climate change are the main reasons for the increase of bigger and more intense wildfires affecting the country.

A plane dropped a mixture of water and flame retardant on a fire in Barrington Lake, Nova Scotia last week.Credit…Government of Nova Scotia, via Reuters

The fires also underlined the interconnectedness between Canada and its neighbor to the south with smoke from the hundreds of wildfires raging across eastern Canada casting a foggy pall over New York City and polluting air quality from Minnesota to Massachusetts.

In eastern Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, home to most of the country’s population, who had hitherto been largely immune to wildfires in far-flung provinces, Tuesday put an end to any sense of complacency. Ottawa was among the places in Ontario with the highest health risk due to poor air quality, according to local authorities.

Clouds of smoke also hung over Toronto, the country’s financial capital, on Tuesday night and schools announced that students would spend Wednesday recess inside. During the day, an acrid odor filled parts of the city as many residents avoided going outside.

With smoke from wildfires forecast for Toronto, is it time to bring the masks back? asked The Toronto Star, evoking bad memories of pandemic times.

With more than 160 fires active in Quebec on Tuesday, some Montreal residents closed their windows. Smog is hanging over parts of the city, and health authorities have advised residents of Laval, a city north of Montreal, to wear N95 masks.

The fires also damaged businesses, with many mining companies suspending operations in Quebec.

Katrina Eyk, a senior meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, the ministry that coordinates environmental policy, said winds drove plumes of fire smoke from Quebec across southern Ontario, affecting air quality and visibility. Canadian health authorities have warned that smoking can cause symptoms ranging from headaches and watery eyes to coughing, dizziness, chest pains and heart palpitations.

Dealing with a fire behind a residential property in Kamloops, British Columbia on Monday.Credit…Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

It’s still pretty shitty out there, Ms. Eyk said from Toronto on Tuesday night. But on Thursday, it appears that with the wind shifting overall to the northeast, that plume could move directly over the Greater Toronto Area and give some pretty bad conditions.

Fires have already rocked British Columbia and Alberta, an oil and gas-producing province, where residents of its largest city, Calgary, have sat down to breakfast for the past few weeks as pungent smoke seeped from cracks under the roofs. house doors.

On Canada’s east coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a fire late last month forced the evacuation of more than 16,000 people.

Michael Mehta, an environmental social scientist and professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, said the visceral reality of smoke billowing over major cities could prompt renewed debate about the risks of climate change.

Until now, he said, many on the east coast had not been exposed, firsthand, to the health risks of air pollution from wildfires that have gripped western provinces in recent years. There is essentially a disconnect, she said. They have not had this experience.


#Smoke #wildfires #Millions #people #North #America #face #dangerous #air #quality #due #wildfires #Canada