Canadian wildfires 2023

The smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to trouble approximately 60 million American residents, resulting in air quality alerts being issued under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 11 states across the Northern Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes regions.

From Montana to New York, meteorologists estimate that nearly 60 million people will experience reduced visibility and poor air quality, including residents of cities such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, St. Louis, Cedar Rapids, and Cleveland.

On Sunday, large portions of the Northern Plains were classified as “Unhealthy” in the air quality index, with levels falling into the “unhealthy” category out of the six-tier scale, spanning from 1 (good) to 6 (hazardous).

wildfires smoke

According to the National Weather Service, “Although smoke densities should begin to decrease in the atmosphere by Monday, there is still enough smoke to support unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups in portions of these regions during the first half of the upcoming week.”

Due to the smoke from wildfires in western Canada, the entire state of New York is currently under air quality advisories issued by health officials. Góv. Kathy Hochul stated in a press release, “We hope that the smoke will reach levels in upstate communities that are ‘unhealthy’ for all New Yorkers.”

Hochul mentioned that the state has activated emergency notifications on roads and is providing masks for distribution.

Winds will continue to push the smoke eastward, resulting in hazy conditions in the Northeast at the start of the week.

The British Columbia Wildfire Service stated that nearly 400 fires in the Canadian province contributed to the smoke, with approximately half of the fires sparked by lightning strikes. Some of these storms were “dry” or received insufficient rainfall to aid in extinguishing any fires, creating a dangerous situation in regions experiencing extreme drought conditions.

Officials announced on Sunday that another firefighter had died while battling the wildfires, this time in Fort Liard district of Canada’s Northwest Territories. In a statement, the Northwest Territories government expressed their sorrow, stating, “We are saddened to share the news that a firefighter from the Fort Liard Fire Department passed away from injuries sustained while fighting a wildfire on Saturday afternoon.”

On Thursday, officials confirmed the death of another firefighter who had been responding to a fire near the city of Revelstoke in southeastern British Columbia.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Sunday,

Wildfire smoke contains small particles known as particulate matter or PM2.5, which can enter the lungs and bloodstream after breathing. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these pollutants commonly cause respiratory difficulties, eye and throat irritation, but they are also linked to more severe long-term health issues such as lung cancer.

Based on weather patterns and the behavior of the fires, some parts of the United States may continue to face the risk of smoke in the near future, as Canada is currently experiencing record-breaking wildfire seasons. Over 24 million acres have already burned this year, an area roughly equivalent to the size of Indiana.

British Columbia has seen over 1,000 fires since April. The province’s wildfire service mentioned that in the past decade, fires have burned nearly three times the average annual area in British Columbia.

Please note that the information provided is based on the given news report and may not reflect the current situation. Stay updated with local authorities and official weather sources for the latest information regarding air quality and wildfire conditions.

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