'No end in sight' to wildfires choking Eastern US with smoke: report
Much of the Northeastern United States is choking from the smoke billowing down from the wildfires that are raging in Canada. Poor air quality is leading to hazardous outdoor conditions that residents are powerless to stop or avoid.
"As of Tuesday evening, New York City had the worst air quality in the world among major cities. Scenes from social media and web cameras showed the sky above Manhattan tinged a reddish-orange hue, drawing comparisons to Mars," The Washington Post reported early Wednesday, adding that "In some places, air quality measurements are the worst on record. Marshall Burke, a professor of environment at Stanford University, tweeted that this event is the '[n]ear worst or worst event' in the past two decades or so, based on smoke particle data."
The sheer number of blazes burning in Canada is staggering.
"The source of much of the smoke pouring into the region is Quebec, Canada. Most broke out in the past week. Across Canada, there are 416 active fires, 240 of which the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center lists as 'out of control,'" the Postnoted. "The wildfires cropped up beneath a well-predicted 'heat dome,' or zone of high pressure, which brought sinking air and warm, dry conditions that broke records for the time of year and location."
Down in the US, environmental health "alerts cover southeast Michigan, parts of Ohio, northern South Carolina, much of North Carolina, northern Virginia, much of Maryland, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and western New Hampshire."
The searing question for those affected by the smoke is how long these conditions will last, given that there is "no end in sight to the fires."
According to Post correspondents Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow, "Wednesday into Thursday, an even worse round of wildfire smoke could waft south out of Canada on the backside of a north-to-south-moving cold front. Pennsylvania, New York state and the Mid-Atlantic — including major metro areas such as Philadelphia, Newark, New York, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond — are likely to see very poor air quality. Outdoor recreation would probably be hazardous. Winds will become more northwesterly Friday into Saturday. While that won’t fully clear the smoke, it will bring a reduction in the concentrations of fine particulate matter. Visibilities, sky conditions and air quality will improve somewhat."
The Washington Post's report continues at this link (subscription required).
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