New York City and much of the Northeast were breathing “unhealthy” air Tuesday as the region was blanketed in smoke from Canadian wildfires.
As a red sun rose over the boroughs and basked the city in an orange haze, officials advised New Yorkers to limit strenuous outdoor activity and urged groups who have trouble breathing to stay inside.
The smoky conditions were expected to become worse as Tuesday afternoon went on and continue Wednesday as wind stream patterns blew smoke from wildfires in Quebec downstream.
“We have a low-pressure system off the coast that’s pulling in the smoke down across our area, so that’s why we see the smoke coming in,” Fox Weather meteorologist Samantha Thomas explained.
More than 400 wildfires were blazing across Canada on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Canadian Interagency Forrest Fire Centre.
The blazes were being exacerbated by “extremely dry” conditions and warm temperatures, and smoke and haze from fires as far-flung as British Colombia and Nova Scotia had been blown into the city in recent weeks.
Fires in the country had charred a combined area that is larger than Maryland and displaced tens of thousands of people, officials said.
“Unfortunately, much of Canada is burning,” Thomas said. “This is definitely the worst we’ve had come in.”
A code red warning was in effect in parts of upstate New York near Canada, meaning even people without health conditions are in danger of the smoke.
Thomas advised New Yorkers to “limit your time outside” and said that advisory warnings could continue Wednesday, when the city was expected to see another push of thicker smoke late morning and into the afternoon.
Visibility in the boroughs was down to four miles Tuesday, less than half of the city’s average, forecasters said.
The hazy situation had not affected air traffic at the city’s three major airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and Port Authority’s websites.