For the second day in a row, major cities in the eastern part of the United States are surrounded by orange haze. Smoke from wildfires in Canada is engulfing much of the North American continent and parts of Mexico. Air quality in some places is worse than yesterday.
New York City has the most air pollution of any city in the world today. The US Air Quality Index shows that air in many cities in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware is classified as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’. In Toronto and the Canadian capital, Ottawa, the skyline is barely visible. Corona-era mouth caps are back on the streets.
In Washington DC, the US media writes that the situation is worsening. The smoke is more visible and you smell it more, the city’s mayor agrees. “The problem is likely to worsen by Friday. Residents are urged to take precautionary measures.”
Health officials in the US advise people to stay indoors as much as possible. Breathing outdoor air can cause respiratory problems due to high levels of airborne particles. “You don’t go for a walk outside, you don’t walk around with a stroller. It’s not safe,” the New York state governor said.
Smog in New York from wildfires: ‘It’s hard to breathe properly’
Sports competitions and outdoor activities have been largely canceled in several states. Schools keep students inside. A number of shows on Broadway in New York were canceled last night.
Aviation is also affected by polluted air. Fewer flights will be able to land at LaGuardia and Newark airports, as well as in Philadelphia due to poor visibility.
Little progress in the next few days
In Canada, about 400 fires have destroyed nearly 4 million hectares of forest. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. The United States has sent 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada to help its northern neighbor with firefighting efforts. South Africa also provides firefighters.
The rain needed to put out the fire does not seem to arrive soon. “The weather conditions show some improvement until the weekend,” says NOS meteorologist Marco Verhoef. “Saturday and Sunday, we’ll see some rain in the fire areas, but not significantly. Across the border, around New York, it looks like we’ll get more rain next week. If that happens, basically get rid of it. Smoke.”
Winds are now blowing smoke from North America through Greenland and Iceland to northern Europe. Norwegian officials expect the smoke to reach the country today. NILU, the Norwegian Research Institute for Climate and Environment, said there are currently no health risks. “We can probably see and smell some smoke. But the particles in the polluted air in Norway are not large enough to be harmful.”
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