Hundreds of Wildfires Burn across Canada, Creating Hazardous Air Quality Conditions

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Parts of the eastern U.S. are experiencing unhealthy air quality conditions this week as smoke from wildfires in Canada travels down the continent.

Regions in New York State issued air quality advisories on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the IQAir, a Swiss air monitoring company, ranked New York City as second for worse air quality among major cities. Detroit was ranked first.

“Try to limit your outdoor activities today to the absolute necessities,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams advised anyone with breathing issues on Twitter, ABC 7 reports.

New York City Public Schools also canceled all school outdoor activities because of the advisories.

According to NBC News, smoke stretched as far south as the Carolinas to parts of Michigan and Wisconsin.

More than 400 fires were burning in Canada as of Tuesday evening, and some 239 were considered “out of control.”

Federal officials said more than 6.7 million acres of land have already been burned just this year.

In Quebec, some 14,000 people were forced to evacuate ahead of the fires, and while authorities were able to contain one wildfire on Sunday, a second large fire was out of control.

“Smoke and haze from wildfires across eastern Canada will continue working into the region this evening,” National Weather Service forecasters wrote in a forecast.

Air pollution from wildfire smoke has increasingly become a health risk to people. In a recent study, researchers at Stanford said that the number of people who experienced at least one day with unhealthy air quality because of smoke has jumped by 27 times over the last 10 years.

Researchers say smoke produces particles that “are small enough to breathe in and can cause cardiovascular issues,” said Brett Palm, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Those particles can increase the risk of asthma, lung cancer or other lung problems and diseases.

“Over the last decade or so, these fires have been increasing and are having increasing impacts not just where the fires are, but far downwind from there,” Palm said.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Stringer

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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