NYC Covered in Smoke And Orange Glow From Canadian Wildfires

The sun was covered by a dense layer of hazardous smoke drifting south from Canadian wildfires as New York City awoke to an orange glow on Tuesday.

In recent years, hazy air from faraway fires has become frequent in New York, though mainly later in the summer as wildfires rage out west.

On Tuesday, government forecasters termed the sooty image across the city a “highly unusual scenario,” owing to smoke from wildfires in Canada to the north.

As global temperatures rise, wildfire seasons are predicted to expand longer and cover more territory, increasing the possibility of repercussions reaching places far from the b*rning.

NYC Covered in Smoke And Orange Glow From Canadian Wildfires

As Canada faces unusual pre-summer fire activity, smokey conditions spread across North America. “May was a record warm month across Canada,” said climate scientist Daniel Swain of the University of California, Los Angeles.

While wildfire season peaks at different times across Canada, Swain noted that this spring has been unusual in that fires have been b*rning from British Columbia along the Pacific to Nova Scotia on the Atlantic.

On Tuesday, New York’s five boroughs had some of the worst air quality in the country. The government-backed web portal AirNow, which monitors air quality on a 500-point scale as it worsens, reported readings in the 150s.

Conditions have deteriorated even more in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, where levels nearly reached 250 on Tuesday, with some of the worst air in North America. People in both locations were advised to restrict their outdoor activity due to health concerns.

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Swain claims that the smoke streaming into New York is coming from Quebec, which explains why it’s so heavy. Typically, smoke that washes through the US Northeast comes from the other side of the continent.

However, fires have been raging just north of the border in eastern Canada for the previous two weeks. Air quality warnings have been issued throughout New York, all of New England save Maine, the Great Lakes, and as far south as Maryland.

“This is a dense wildfire,” Swain observed. “You’re getting dense plumes blowing south from California.” The smoke is denser because these are more localized flames, generating more public health issues.”

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As of June 5, 421 active fires were burning in Canada, with over 2,250 fires started this year that had scorched 3.6 million hectares.

The strange orange hue of Manhattan’s skyline isn’t the only concerning part of Tuesday’s weather away from the flames. Due to dry lightning, critical fire conditions have developed in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, red flag warnings have been issued. On Tuesday, dry winds will sweep through the region, increasing the risk of wildfires in the Northeast. “If a fire starts, it can spread much faster,” said US Weather Prediction Center forecaster Joe Wegman.

“I cannot remember ever seeing dry lighting in the Northeast,” Swain added. “It’s certainly out of the ordinary.”

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