The U.S. Northeast is grappling with deteriorating air quality as smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets the region, according to environmental officials. Maps and satellite images vividly depict the extensive reach of the wildfires’ smoke, prompting numerous air quality alerts across eastern and central parts of the United States.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Wednesday that one of its satellites captured the smoke being “swept up” by a swirling weather system. As a result, “numerous” air quality alerts have been issued throughout the affected areas.
In New York, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory, indicating that air quality levels were classified as “unhealthy” for much of the state. Specifically, the New York City metropolitan area, Eastern Lake Ontario, and Central New York were deemed to have unhealthy air quality, while Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, Upper Hudson Valley, and Western New York were categorized as having unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. The Adirondacks region was reported to have moderate air quality.
Mayor Eric Adams of New York City urged residents to limit their outdoor activities, emphasizing that children, older adults, and individuals with heart or respiratory conditions were particularly susceptible and should refrain from outdoor pursuits during this period. City officials stated that the current air quality situation was unparalleled since the 1960s, as reported by CBS News New York.
As the afternoon progressed, skies over the greater New York City area took on an increasingly orange hue. In neighboring New Jersey, officials raised the air quality alert to “unhealthy,” and the governor strongly advised residents to stay indoors. He assured the public that his team was closely monitoring the wildfires and their impact on the region.
The widespread presence of Canadian wildfire smoke serves as a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of environmental events and highlights the need for continued efforts to address climate change and mitigate the risk of wildfires.