PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Just walk outside Wednesday morning and you can see - and even smell - the unusually and alarmingly hazy conditions.
More than 160 forest fires burning across Canada are leading to poor air quality across the tri-state area. The situation is especially bad for people with respiratory problems.
The smell was so strong that emergency responders in Montgomery County had an influx of 911 calls Tuesday night.
"Based on reports from the US National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly, the cause is believed to be smoke moving into our area from wildfires in Canada," Montgomery County Department of Public Safety said in a Facebook post. "Residents are urged to use their best judgment when deciding to call 9-1-1 to report conditions such as those described above."
An air quality alert remain in effect for several counties in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey due to the wildfires.
According to our 6abc Data Journalism team, Tuesday's air quality index reached 110, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Air quality alerts remain in effect Wednesday for our region, meaning air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, elderly people, people who are pregnant, and those with asthma, respiratory diseases or heart conditions.
The Philadelphia Health Department declared a Code Orange Fine Particle Action Day for Wednesday. The Health Department recommends doing the following to protect yourself and your family from poor air quality:
- Avoid going outdoors as much as possible.
- If you must go outside, avoid excessive activity, such as jogging or running, and wear a mask, if available.
- Close all windows and doors to minimize air pollution in your home.
- Recirculate air with fans to avoid bringing more air pollution into your home.
- Avoid areas of high congestion and where air pollution may be high (e.g., main streets or highways, areas with low circulation).
- People with underlying illnesses should monitor for symptoms, including trouble breathing, nausea, and dizziness. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, crews in South Jersey battled a wildfire in Jackson Township Tuesday night.
The blaze broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the area of East Commodore Boulevard and Cedar Swamp Road in Jackson Township. It has not been contained at this time.
And just last week, two fires broke out in Burlington County, scorching hundreds of acres of forest land, forcing people to flee from their homes.
The cause of all three fires remains under investigation.
Quebec orders more evacuations
Northern Quebec's largest town was being evacuated on Tuesday as firefighters worked to beat back threats from out-of-control blazes in remote communities in the northern and northwestern parts of the province.
According to the province's forest fire prevention agency, more than 150 forest fires were burning in the province on Tuesday, including more than 110 deemed out of control. The intense Canadian wildfires are blanketing the northeastern U.S. and parts of Eastern Canada in a haze, turning the air acrid, the sky yellowish gray and prompting warnings for vulnerable populations to stay inside.
Late Tuesday, authorities issued an evacuation order for Chibougamau, Quebec, a town of about 7,500 in the remote region of the province. Authorities said the evacuation was underway and promised more details Wednesday.