Millions of people encouraged to mask up due to intense Canadian wildfire smoke 2023 - New York giving out 1 million free N95s
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Canada heading for its worst fire season ever recorded: Bad air quality warnings for tens of millions in North America
UPDATED JUNE 8
Millions of people in North America have been advised to wear N95 masks outdoors due to poor air quality levels caused by the widespread forest fires in Canada, according to the BBC.
Canadian authorities have said that people should wear a mask if they are unable to remain indoors .Officials warn that the dangerously smoky conditions are expected to persist into the weekend.,and expected to spread beyond New York to other East Coast areas.
The state of New York will begin distributing free masks on Thursday. New York Governor Kathy Hochul said one million masks will be given to residents on Thursday.
"This is a temporary situation. This is not Covid," she said at a news conference.
Original article written June 7:
160 fires are burning in the Canadian province of Quebec. Toronto, Ottawa and New York briefly had among the worst air quality in the world on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, tens of millions of people in North America are experiencing dangerous air quality levels as intense wildfires burn across Canada.
Smoke covered large areas of Ontario and Quebec, and an orange haze dominated the skies over much of the north-eastern US during Tuesday and into Wednesday. Residents complained about chest pains and breathing discomfort.
Toronto and New York briefly ranked among the metro areas with the worst air quality in the world overnight.
For the province of Quebec, 2023 is reportedly already the worst fire season on record, which is remarkable considering we are only in the second week of June.
"Very high risk" - 10+ for Ottawa
According to the CBC.ca, the air quality in the Canadian capital of Ottawa has been the worst among major Canadian cities at several occasions over the past two days A local meteorologist says is thanks to a combination of the city's geography and wind patterns.
On Wednesday morning, Environment Canada's Air Quality Health Index was at a level of very high (10+) in Ottawa, and the weather agency categorized these conditions as "very high risk." It stayed that way until Wednesday afternoon, and as of 4 p.m., smoke conditions were back to a moderate risk level.
A CBC.ca article shows the graphic of a very drastic curve for worsening air quality for Ottawa June 5 - 7.
Canadian fire season began in May during heat wave and record dry conditions
The Canadian fire season began in early May with out of control wildfires in the province of Alberta, as well as in British Columbia. Smoke travelled all the way to New York and other US states then as well, which is remarkable considering Alberta is a western Canadian province, and New York is located in the Eastern parts of the continent.
Towards the end of May, difficult and dangerous firefighting conditions were reported for the eastern province of Nova Scotia as well. In the first week of June, the province of Quebec also experienced out of control forest fire conditions, with 160 fires burning in the province. Also the province of Ontario is affected.
Canadian officials say the country is heading for for its worst wildfire season on record.
Experts have pointed to the of a warmer and drier spring than normal as the reason behind the early fire season start. The likelihood for these conditions continue throughout the summer is considered very high.
Photo Credit: (Cover photo above) PH Sphere