A low-pressure system over Maine and Nova Scotia has resulted in the worst urban air quality in the world for New Yorkers. The drifting haze is due to unrelenting Canadian wildfires and could affect Americans for weeks. Hundreds of community parks and other outdoor spaces from Canada to North Carolina have closed, as air quality readings in many areas range from unhealthy to hazardous. The National Weather Service meteorologist, Bryan Ramsey, said the situation will continue until either the wind direction changes or the fires are doused. The air quality monitoring website, iqair.com, had New York City at the top of its global list, with Detroit rising as high as third before falling back into the 20s. Authorities have warned residents across much of the Northeast to stay inside and limit or avoid outdoor activities, extending “Code Red” alerts in some places for a third-straight day. Pets, especially short-muzzled breeds, birds, and horses, are also at risk. Health experts are urging Americans in areas with air quality warnings to stay indoors and to run an air filtration system that will reduce exposure. The U.S. Air Quality Index, or AQI, is the Environmental Protection Agency's tool for communicating daily air quality. It uses color-coded categories to describe air quality and groups of people that may be affected. The fires in Canada are mostly in remote, wooded areas, and since most of Canada's firefighting focus is on saving homes, the blazes are likely to continue burning into the summer, with the smoke and haze episodes expected to continue. The primary culprit for fouling U.S. air is the 150 fires burning in south-central Quebec, a majority of which were not contained.
Smoke from wildfire may cause poor air quality for days