Fires in Canada – “Mars or Manhattan?” New York shrouded in smog

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Smoke from numerous severe wildfires in Canada has blanketed parts of the US East Coast, making air quality hazardous. The plumes of hundreds of fires in eastern Canada moved south, causing a dense, misty veil and an orange tint to the sky in New York, among other places. “Mars or Manhattan?” one Twitter user asked.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul called it an “emergency crisis” and advised residents to wear FFP2 masks. From Thursday, a million face masks will be distributed free of charge, Hochul announced on Wednesday.

“Prepare for the long haul”
The condition can last for several days. “People have to prepare for a long period of time,” the governor said. People in New York are urged to stay indoors and close their windows as much as possible. All outdoor activities in schools and kindergartens have been canceled, and many other outdoor events such as baseball games have also been cancelled.

Air quality alerts were issued in 16 states on Wednesday. In Pennsylvania, the air quality index reached 410 – above 300 it becomes dangerous. In the American capital Washington, about 370 kilometers to the south, it was cloudy on Wednesday and it smelled like burnt. Both cities warned of poor air quality. Meanwhile, the highest level of air pollution in New York was: “Dangerous” – according to the official website Airnow.gov, all residents of the 8 million metropolis should stay in the buildings and reduce physical activity.

In the street canyons, not only did visibility decrease significantly, the smoke could also be felt in the eyes and throat. The FAA said traffic to and from airports in the New York City area and in Philadelphia was restricted due to poor visibility. There were serious delays. There were many warnings on social media that such scenarios could become more frequent in the future due to the climate crisis.

Manhattan Mayor Mark Levine wrote, “Air quality is rapidly deteriorating.” The value measured is “now more than double the highest level of health risk on the U.S. government scale.”

Wildfires have been raging for weeks
In the Canadian metropolitan areas of Ottawa and Toronto and in the US states of Minnesota and Massachusetts, authorities also warned residents about bad air. Numerous fires have been raging in western Canada and now also in the northeast of the country for weeks. In the southeastern province of Nova Scotia, the situation had recently eased somewhat.

“Alarming Example of Climate Crisis”
The White House said President Joe Biden had also been made aware of the situation. “It’s another alarming example of how the climate crisis is affecting our lives and our communities,” said spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

Source: Krone

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