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Smoke from wildfires in Canada’s Quebec province has caused unhealthy air quality levels in parts of the Northeast, including New York City. The smoke can cause immediate effects such as coughing, shortness of breath, and an increased heart rate, as well as aggravating chronic heart and lung conditions. The smoke is different from that seen in the past few weeks, as it is traveling closer to the Earth’s surface, having been pushed southward by strong winds around low pressure near the New England coast. This pattern is likely to continue for the next few days as long as the fires in Canada continue to burn.
Parts of the Northeast, including the New York City metro area, experienced unhealthy air quality on Tuesday morning due to smoke from wildfires in Canada’s Quebec province. The air quality was categorized as “unhealthy” in numerous locations from upstate New York to New York City, As detailed in airnow.gov. The smoke can cause immediate effects such as coughing, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate, even in healthy people. It can also aggravate chronic heart and lung conditions, increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, damage vital organs, and shorten a person’s lifespan.
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The smoke from the wildfires in Quebec is different from the smoke experienced in the Northeast during the past few weeks. The wildfire smoke from the Canadian province of Alberta was mainly aloft and did not affect air quality much. However, some of the smoke from the Quebec wildfires is traveling near the Earth’s surface, which has a greater impact on air quality. Satellite images from Tuesday morning show how expansive the smoke appeared.
As detailed in weather.com, the rash of wildfires in Quebec was fanned by strong winds around low pressure near the New England coast on Monday. The counterclockwise flow around that low-pressure system pushed the surface-based smoke southward into the Northeast Monday night into Tuesday. This pattern is expected to remain largely unchanged for at least the next few days, so more smoke could impact the eastern U.S. as long as the fires in Canada continue to burn.
To track the latest real-time air quality, visit this link. The website provides air quality readings across the United States at different times throughout the day. The air quality readings at 9:45 a.m. EDT on Tuesday showed unhealthy air in many locations in the Northeast.
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The smoke-covered skies tinted the New York City skyline orange on Tuesday morning, as shown in photos shared on social media. The smoke can have serious health consequences, so officials are urging people to stay indoors when possible and avoid outdoor activities that require heavy breathing.
The smoke is a reminder of the dangers of wildfires and their impact on air quality. As climate change continues to contribute to more frequent and intense wildfires, it is important to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet. This includes reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, supporting policies that promote renewable energy, and taking actions in our own lives to reduce emissions.
As of Tuesday, the fires in Quebec continue to burn, and the smoke is expected to impact air quality in the Northeast for the next few days. It is important to stay informed about air quality and take steps to protect our health during these events.