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USA. New York, Washington. Orange fog and smoke cloud. Smoke from forest fires in Canada engulfs the cities of the United States

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Smoke caused by forest fires in the Canadian provinces has caused a sharp deterioration in air quality in many cities in Canada and the United States. On Tuesday, the cloud reached New York, on Wednesday – Philadelphia and Washington, where, among other things, outdoor school classes were canceled. Flights delayed in New York due to poor visibility to LaGuardia Airport.

In Canada, there are 414 forest fires, 239 are still uncontrollable, 3.8 million hectares of forests have burned, over 20,000 people are away from their homes, electricity lines in Quebec are at risk, said the Minister for Emergency Situations Bill Blair on Wednesday.

Due to smoke from wildfires reaching southern parts of Canada, air pollution levels exceeded the maximum values ​​of the scale defining them on Tuesday in the capital of the country, Ottawa. Government meteorologists are issuing alerts for more cities, recommending reducing physical activity and wearing masks if staying at home is not possible.

Outdoor classes have been canceled at Toronto Public Schools. The alert for the city indicated “high risk” on Wednesday and predicted even higher pollution on Thursday. In Quebec, Prime Minister Francois Legault stressed during a press conference that meteorologists do not predict rain until Monday.

Smoke covers the cities of the USA

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Smog from Canada has forced local authorities in many eastern US cities to issue air quality warnings. On Tuesday, the sky over New York City was a hazy orange color, and according to measurements, the metropolis was the second most polluted city in the world in terms of air quality. According to the New York Times, the level of the most dangerous particulate matter, PM 2.5, was ten times higher than the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Smoke from forest fires in Canada reached New York


Smoke from forest fires in Canada reached New YorkPAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

On Wednesday smog arrived, among others to Philadelphia and Washington, where the smell of smoke is perceptible. Detroit and Ottawa are also at the bottom of the air quality rankings. The authorities of the US capital announced that school classes held in the open air will be canceled.

CNN reported Wednesday that 55 million people in the US are under smoke alerts. Flights were delayed due to poor visibility. to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Smoke from forest fires in Canada reached New YorkPAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

Smoke from forest fires in Canada reached New YorkPAP/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

“The sun was barely visible at times”

The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned Americans to avoid exercising outside. The cloud of smoke also reduced visibility on the roads.

“We’re going to see skies even cloudier than on Monday, when the sun was sometimes barely visible due to the thick and low smoke,” the NWS branch in Buffalo, New York, warned on Wednesday. The resort expects this state of affairs to continue across the region by the end of the week.

Smoke from forest fires in Canada reached New YorkPAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

Help from different countries

Firefighters from Australia, New Zealand and the United States are helping Canadian firefighters fight the element. Firefighters from South Africa arrived on Tuesday and nearly 200 firefighters from France are on their way to Quebec. The military also helps, Minister of Defense Anita Anand said that there are about 130 soldiers in Alberta, about 100 in Nova Scotia, and 300 in Quebec. They help, among others, in engineering matters, logistics, air transport.

In Canada, provincial governments are responsible for fire service operations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, assuring about the help of the federal government, reminded that before the current extreme forest fires last year, hurricanes and heavy downpours swept through the country. “We need to adapt our actions, anticipate and protect,” he said.

Fire and smoke billows on the outskirts of HalifaxReuters

Health consequences

Experts warn that exposure to fire smoke can contribute to a range of health problems. Matthew Adams, a professor at the University of Toronto and director of the Center for the Urban Environment, noted that the first effects of smoke inhalation are shortness of breath, increased pulse, chest pain or inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat.

“During days of increased air pollution, we will see an increase in hospital visits,” he said. “And people who visit the hospital usually have pre-existing respiratory illnesses,” he added. Long-term exposure to pollution is associated with consequences such as cancer, lung disease and problems in pregnant women.

Professor Adams recommended limiting outdoor exposure to avoid inhaling smoke. – Try not to worry about it so much. Stay home and reduce your exposure to pollution. – added. If occupants are forced to go outside, the use of masks and filters is recommended to minimize the impact of pollution as much as possible.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

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