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Residents of New York City and the Northeast are braced for two more days of hazardous smog as the city continues to be blanketed by smoke from over 400 Canadian wildfires.
A thick haze shrouded the famous Big Apple skyline and turned the moon red Tuesday evening, while the city briefly became the most polluted in the world as its Air Quality Index score soared past 200, which is deemed ‘very unhealthy’.
At least ten school districts in New York cancelled all outdoor activities due to the smog, and vulnerable residents were advised to limit outdoor exposure as breathing the fog can be as damaging as smoking six cigarettes.
Cities in the smoke’s path were still under a blanket of smog through Wednesday, as ongoing wildfires in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec plunged over 100 million people through North America under some form of air quality alert.
New York City was blanketed by a thick sheet of smoke Tuesday evening due to record wildfires in Canada
Manhattanites were barely able to see the Statue of Liberty across the Hudson River
Residents attend a morning yoga class on Manhattan’s The Edge observation deck as a haze from the wildfires hangs over the city
A sheet of smoke from the wildfires first descended on New York on Tuesday before thickening throughout the afternoon, leaving those in Manhattan unable to see the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River.
As well as sending New Yorkers inside, air quality alerts were also introduced in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, according to the National Weather Service.
The smoke is expected to clear by Wednesday morning in some areas including Indiana and Ohio, however other regions such as Pennsylvania and Virginia will see the fog remain for several days.
At around 10pm Tuesday, New York briefly set the mark for the worst air pollution in the world, overtaking the Indian capital of Delhi.
According to the IQAir rankings, New York currently had the fourth worst air quality in the world on Wednesday morning, with its air particle (PM2.5) concentration 14.6 times stronger than the WHO’s guidelines.
The Big Apple’s Air Quality Index, a metric used by government agencies worldwide, remains in the ‘unhealthy’ range at over 170, according to AirNow.
The city of Detroit, Michigan was also in the top five metros for the worst air quality on Wednesday morning, with numerous US cities continuing to be plagued by the smog.
The entirety of New York City remains under an air quality alert as the smoke continues to linger over the metro
A woman seen jogging along the Hudson River as a smoky sunrise looms over Manhattan
Residents are being urged to avoid outdoor exposure due to the reduced air quality
The city briefly topped the list of the metros with the worst air pollution in the world
The thick smoke is seen hanging over New York City, where the World Trade Center can barely be seen from The Edge observation deck in Hudson Yards
Much of the smoke has been from Quebec, where over 400 wildfires are burning as Canadian officials warn they are in the midst of their worst fire season on record.
Throughout the nation, Canadian officials have deemed more than 240 of the blazes to be ‘out of control’.
Many of the fires that sparked the smoke crisis have been burning for weeks, but were forced south in recent days due to a storm system blowing in over Nova Scotia.
The weather pushed much of the smoke across the East Coast, and is expected to continue for the next several days.
New York was among numerous states to be placed under air quality alerts throughout the nation on Tuesday evening
Photographers seen crowding along the Hudson River to snap the Statue of Liberty shrouded in smoke on June 6, 2023
Over 400 wildfires in Canada have plunged the city into a hazy smog, leaving many unable to see the iconic skyscrapers
An aerial view of Brooklyn and the Manhattan skyline reveals the extent that the thick smog has covered the region
Unseasonably dry and warm weather has been blamed for the crisis, with the coming months expected to bring more of the same conditions that turned Canadian forestry into a tinderbox.
Last month alone saw around 6.6 million acres burn in wildfires, the equivalent of 5 million football fields.
The US Environmental Protection Agency introduced sweeping air quality alerts throughout Tuesday as the smoke continued to blow in from across the northern border.
Over 100 million people are under some form of warning, with residents in the northeast seeing their air quality reclassified as ‘unhealthy’.
New York City saw its Air Quality Index score (pictured) rise past 200 overnight, which is deemed to be in the ‘very unhealthy’ range
Smoke billowing from a major wildfire in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada on June 3, 2023
Over 400 fires are active across the nation, with Canadian officials deeming 240 of the fires as ‘out of control’
Canada is currently experiencing its worst wildfire season in recent memory, with over 6.7 million acres burned since the start of the year
The remains of a vehicle and home after a wildfire scorched the area in Nova Scotia, Canada on June 6, 2023
Smoke from the wildfires blanketed the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in the early hours of June 7, 2023
In New York City, officials also warned vulnerable individuals such as the elderly or those with breathing problems to avoid exercising outside and to ensure they have a high-grade mask.
The effects are understandably worse at the source of the wildfires, as Environment Canada issued its strongest possible air quality warning by placing Ottawa under a ‘very high risk’ alert.
Residents of Toronto and the surrounding areas also saw their air quality deemed ‘high risk’.
Thousands of people have also been evacuated across the country, with fires also reported in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.
Smoke originating from Canadian wildfires caused hazardous levels of air pollution across the Northeast. Pictured is a map showing Air Quality Index levels on Tuesday night. Purple areas are where levels were between 201 and 300. Red areas were between 151 and 200
The Staten Island Ferry is pictured through the mass of smoke as it sails in front of the Statue of Liberty
The sun seen rising over New York City on Wednesday morning, where smoke remained after drifting in the day before
The iconic Times Square was blanketed by the orange haze and smoke
Hazy skies seen over the skyline in Washington DC, one of many East Coast hubs to have been hit by the smoke
The view of Jersey City, New Jersey from across the Hudson River on June 6, 2023
Air quality warnings are yet to be lifted throughout the US, with pollution levels at unhealthy levels in states including North Dakota, Missouri and Virginia.
For those in cities with hazardous levels, residents are advised to exercise indoors and wear a good quality mask when stepping outside.
The effects of breathing wildfire smoke and air pollution can be extremely damaging, causing symptoms including chest pains and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.
‘On these elevated air pollution days, we’ll see an increased number of visits to hospital,’ said Matthew Adams, professor at the University of Toronto and the director of its Centre of Urban Environments, to the BBC.
‘And the people that are visiting the hospital typically have a pre-existing respiratory disease.’