As Canadian wildfire grapples with its most devastating wildfire season to date, the noxious smoke it produces has spread southward, enveloping several states across the United States.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a thick band of smoke is making its way through states like Montana and Nebraska in the West, and the Great Lakes region in the East, extending towards Central states such as Illinois and Tennessee. Even parts of California are experiencing a decline in air quality due to the pervasive smoke.
Canadian wildfire: 20 States at Risk, New York City Bracing for Impact
Presently, a total of 20 states have issued air quality alerts, spanning from New York to as far south as North Carolina, as reported by AirNow. This website, operated in collaboration with federal, state, and local air quality agencies, provides real-time information on air quality.
Cities including Billings in Montana, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh have registered Air Quality Index (AQI) ratings above 150, which falls under the “unhealthy” category. Meanwhile, residents in Chicago woke up to the fifth-worst air quality among major cities worldwide, based on an analysis by ABC News.
By Monday evening, the densest concentration of smoke is anticipated over upstate New York, particularly around Tupper Lake, which lies approximately 80 miles from the Canadian border, as well as Burlington, Vermont.
Overview of Canada’s Alarming Fire Season
As of July 12, Natural Resources Canada‘s official situational report states that wildfires have scorched nearly 9.7 million hectares (approximately 24 million acres) of land, a staggering 839 percent higher than the average. Currently, there are 616 active fires across the country.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts that the Canadian wildfire smoke will persist until Tuesday. Consequently, air-quality alerts have been issued for various regions, including the Great Lakes area, central Tennessee, and North Carolina.
“Haze from wildfire smoke will continue to linger in our region until Monday,” tweeted the National Weather Service Chicago on Sunday. “This may result in poor air quality, especially for individuals with chronic respiratory conditions. We advise limiting prolonged outdoor activities for such individuals.”
The impact of the raging Canadian wildfire and subsequent smoke infiltration remains a pressing concern for both Canada and the United States. Efforts to mitigate the fires and minimize the far-reaching consequences on air quality and public health are of paramount importance during this challenging period.