Major US cities covered in thick orange smog this week will soon recover as Canada’s wildfires spewing noxious smoke across the border are winding down.
Fire activity in Quebec has improved and the area covered by smoke is now just 7% of what it was last week. Slightly cooler temperatures and higher humidity in Canada means less smoke rises across the border.
However, there are two big caveats. Fire season is still early in Canada, so more wildfires are likely this summer. And some US states still suffer from deteriorating air quality, which can pose health problems.
“Smoke from Canada’s wildfires continued to be carried southward on the wind, creating moderate to unhealthy air quality over the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley and parts of the Midwest on Friday,” the paper said. said. National Weather Service Said. “We expect some improvement this weekend.”
While the worst has passed for much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, potentially harmful air pollutants will linger on Friday in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., before fading away over the next few days. expected.
The air quality index in Philadelphia topped 150 early Friday morning, making it “unhealthy,” according to monitoring website Air Now. New York City’s Air Quality Index dropped below 150 early Friday morning, considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”
Heavy smoke this week has forced professional sports games to be postponed, flights have been canceled due to poor visibility, zoos and beaches have been closed, and many have been forced to wear masks outdoors. Climate experts warn that such phenomena are becoming more frequent due to man-made climate change.
Several states in the Midwest and East Coast issued air pollution warnings for about 50 million people early Friday morning, but that number could change if conditions improve in some areas.
Here’s what you can expect:
• Statewide air quality is being compromisedAir pollution warnings are in effect for all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Indiana, as well as parts of Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. .
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
On Thursday, the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. was engulfed in smoke.
• Remote school: Public schools in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. are holding remote classes on Friday to reduce exposure to airborne toxins.
• New York City will improve: Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday that the Big Apple could see “significant improvements” after being hit by the world’s worst air quality multiple times this week, according to IQAir. “At this point, the smoke models do not indicate another large plume of smoke over the city,” Adams said, but urged people to wear masks when going out.
• Displaced Canadians can return home: Most Halifax residents evacuated due to wildfires will be allowed to go home on Friday, Mayor Mike Savage said. About 16,000 people fled their homes during the height of wildfire evacuation, and about 4,100 are still evacuated.
• Firefighters call for help: On Friday, New York plans to send forest rangers to help fight wildfires in Quebec, Gov. Kathy Hochul said. The White House said federal resources were also committed.
A man wears a protective mask as he walks through Times Square in New York on Thursday, June 8.
Smoke obscures the northern landscape on Third Avenue in New York City on June 8.
Brian Orrin Dozier/NurPhoto/Shutterstock
A family wearing masks walks in front of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., June 8.
Smoke from the Canadian wildfires obscures visibility in Pittsburgh on June 8.
Hannah Byer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
On June 8, buildings in the Philadelphia skyline are enveloped in smoke.
Julio Cortez/Associated Press
People visit the top of the old post office bell tower on June 8 as a blanket of smoke obscures the landscape of Washington, DC.
Mandel Gunn/AFP via Getty Images
A cyclist rides under a blanket of fog that has partially obscured the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on June 8.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
A New York City woman wears a mask during the morning rush hour on June 8. Air quality in New York City had improved slightly by Thursday, but was still considered a “very unhealthy” level for residents.
The One World Trade Center Tower as seen in New York just after sunrise on June 8th.
John Minchillo/Associated Press
The starting gate is not in use at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on June 8. Poor air quality could affect the progress of the Belmont Stakes, a horse race scheduled for the weekend.
Transit worker Shanita Hankle (left) hands out masks to commuters at a subway station in New York on June 8.
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
On June 8th, the skyline of Philadelphia is shrouded in fog.
Ting Sheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium is covered in a smoky haze on June 8th.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
View of the Washington Memorial at sunrise on June 8th.
Firefighters fight a wildfire on June 8 in Evansburg, Alberta.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
People on the New York City subway wear masks as a smoky haze blankets the neighborhood on Wednesday, June 7.
Workers chain up seats at Citizens Bank Park on June 7 after the Philadelphia Phillies postponed a baseball game due to poor air quality. The New York Yankees also postponed that night’s game.
Two men stand on the waterfront in Brooklyn, New York, on June 7.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
A smoky haze impairs visibility of New York’s Empire State Building on June 7.
John Mare/Journal News/USA Today Network
On June 7, a man in Pyrmont, New York attempts to photograph the sun hidden behind smoke.
On June 7, smoke blanketed the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Residents of Fort Lee, New Jersey, speak on the phone near the George Washington Bridge on June 7.
Peter Kerr/Journal News/USA Today Network
Smoke obscures the view from the New York State Highway looking north from West Nyack on June 7.
People wear masks as they walk through Herald Square in New York City on June 7.
A woman jogs along the Hudson River as a smoky haze hangs over the New York City skyline just after sunrise on June 7.
Kareem Elghazal/Cincinnati Enquirer/USA Today Network
A couple having lunch in Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 6th. Smoke from the wildfires in Canada wafted over the city and the air was hazy.
People take pictures of the smoke-covered city at Toronto’s CN Tower on June 6.
Frank Franklin II/AP
On June 6th, the sky changed color during a New York Yankees baseball game.
Marylee Cassidy/Cape Cod Times/USA Today Network
A smoky sky provides a soothing backdrop in Rock Harbor, Massachusetts, on June 6. The skies above Cape Cod were filled with smoke from Canada’s wildfires.
Selcuk Akar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
On June 6th, people in New York wear masks and ride their bikes. That morning, New York City briefly experienced some of the worst air pollution in the world.
On June 6, air pollution in New York obscures the Statue of Liberty.
Spencer Colby/Canadian News Agency (via AP)
Smoke from wildfires engulfs downtown Ottawa on Monday, June 5.
BC Wildfire Service via Reuters
Smoke rises from a planned ignition by firefighters who were dealing with wildfires at the Donnie Creek complex south of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Saturday, June 3.
Nova Scotia State Press (via Reuters)
Firefighter Jason Locke sprays hotspots in the Birchtown area while battling wildfires in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, June 3.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station take this picture of wildfire smoke near Shelburne, Nova Scotia on May 29. Anthropogenic climate change has exacerbated the hot and dry conditions that allow wildfires to ignite and spread.
BC Wildfire Service via Reuters
Smoke rises from the Fort Nelson wildfires on May 27.
Kamloops Fire Rescue (via Reuters)
Firefighters stand on a truck and fight a fire near Fort St. John, British Columbia, May 14.
Anne-Sophie Till/AFP via Getty Images
Stands for BJ Fuchs, a farmer who lost part of his land to wildfires and had to move his cattle, May 11, in Shining Bank, Alberta.
Scientists say such transformative weather events are likely to continue to disrupt everyday life as the planet warms, creating an ideal environment for more severe and frequent wildfires. I am warning you.
As the flames burn, the smoke travels thousands of miles, endangering millions more people.
Wildfire smoke is especially dangerous because it contains the smallest pollutant, fine particulate matter (PM2.5). When inhaled, it can travel deep into the lung tissue and enter the bloodstream.
Sources include fossil fuel burning, dust storms, and wildfires. Such smoke is associated with several health complications, including asthma, heart disease and other respiratory diseases.