New York Code Red Air Quality Alert issued after live fire updates in Canada

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<p>People participate in a morning yoga class on The Edge observation deck on Manhattan’s West Side as haze from smoke from wildfires burning in Canada hangs over New York City </p>
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People attend a morning yoga class on The Edge observation deck on Manhattan’s West Side as haze from smoke from wildfires burning in Canada hangs over New York City

(EPA)

New York City woke Wednesday to another day of dark, smoke-filled skies as it remained, for now, one of the worst places in the world for air pollution.

The Big Apple currently ranks fifth for worst air quality in the world behind Toronto, Hanoi, Dhaka and New Delhi.

Flights were grounded at New York’s LaGuardia Airport Wednesday afternoon due to poor visibility until 2:00 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.

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New Yorkers have been advised to limit their time outdoors and wear masks to protect against smoke while schools have canceled outdoor activities, including recess and exercise classes.

The entire northeastern United States is battling smoke drifting south from more than 400 wildfires raging in Canada, which have led to mass evacuations in the province of Quebec. Canadian officials have warned that this could be the country’s worst bushfire season on record, with more than 6.7 million acres already burned.

The air quality index is currently at unhealthy levels across New York and other major cities as public officials encourage residents to limit outdoor activities to absolute necessities.

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Climate scientists agree: While fires are part of the ecosystem in some regions, the climate crisis is making them more frequent and intense.

Dozens of studies have linked larger wildfires to global warming caused by emissions from burning fossil fuels.

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Fire season in Canada starts early with a fierce wave of wildfires

Canada’s wildfire season began earlier this year and accelerated very rapidly, depleting fire resources across the country, said Jennifer Kamau, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

Smoke from wildfires in various parts of the country has reached the United States since last month, but has intensified with a recent spate of wildfires in Quebec, where more than 100 wildfires were burning and considered out of control on Tuesday.

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Northern Quebec’s largest city, Chibougamau, with a population of about 7,500, was evacuated on Tuesday, after another Quebec community was left to burn on Monday, drawing the ire of local residents.

Quebec Premier Fran├žois Legault said on Monday that authorities had no choice because the fire around the hamlet of Clova was too intense to send in water bombs. That remained true on Tuesday, he said, but he noted that no houses had burned down.

Kamau said more than 950 firefighters and other personnel have already arrived from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with teams from Costa Rica arriving soon.

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Across the border, the effects of the flames have darkened horizons and sore throats.

It’s sunny, but it’s not sunny, Michele Kluk said as she emerged from a Target store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with a pile of allergy medication in response to air quality.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 6:45 pm

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BREAKING: flights blocked at La Guardia airport

Flights were grounded at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport due to poor visibility until 2 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 6:21 pm

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Scenes from a smoke-shrouded Manhattan

People attend a morning yoga class on The Edge observation deck on Manhattan’s West Side as haze from smoke from wildfires burning in Canada hangs over the city

(EPA)

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 6:20 pm

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Climate activists are calling on New York lawmakers to do more on fossil fuels

Activists Wednesday called on New York lawmakers to act faster to address fossil fuels driving the climate crisis of worsening wildfires and plummeting air quality.

They asked the state to pass the NY HEAT Act, aimed at making the clean energy transition affordable and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

Right now in New York City, it looks, feels, and smells like the dystopian climate catastrophe that experts have been warning us about for decades. But in the next 48 hours, the House can pass a bill that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and protect New Yorkers from poisonous air that is becoming more dangerous by the second, said Alex Beauchamp, director of the Northern Region- East of Food & Water Watch.

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As New Yorkers choke in smoke, the Assembly is failing to address the scale of the crisis. To prevent New York state from becoming a living hell where just breathing increases the risk of asthma, the House must pass NY HEAT now.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 6:01 pm

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Look: Canadian wildfire smoke drifts further south, covers Washington DC

Smoke from Canadian bushfires blankets DC

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:40 pm

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Air quality will worsen Wednesday afternoon in New York City

The smoke will become thicker in New York around 4:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday, according to meteorologists.

It is expected to be worse than Tuesday’s evening commute, the New York Metro Weather Twitter account posted.

Public officials are advising New Yorkers to limit their time outdoors and wear a mask to protect themselves from air pollution. Poor visibility will also be a problem.

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Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:20 pm

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What Caused the Fires in Canada?

Canada is facing hundreds of intense wildfires that have spread from the western provinces to Quebec, many of them out of control.

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Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 5:01 pm

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Quebec orders more evacuations as dozens of wildfires in Canada remain out of control

More than 150 forest fires broke out in the province on Tuesday, more than 110 of which are believed to be out of control, according to the provincial forest fire prevention agency. Intense Canadian wildfires are blanketing the northeastern United States and parts of eastern Canada in a haze, turning the acrid air, the sky yellowish gray and prompting warnings for vulnerable populations to stay indoors.

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The effects of hundreds of fires burning in Quebec could be felt as far away as New York City and New England, obliterating skylines and galling ravines.

On Tuesday, authorities issued an evacuation order for Chibougamau, Quebec, a town of about 7,500 people in the province’s remote region. Authorities said the evacuation was underway and promised more details on Wednesday.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:40 pm

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Masked residents, darkened, foggy skies and a blood moon were among the Northeastern US scenes that emerged late Tuesday and Wednesday evening as air quality plummeted from wildfires in Canada .

Read Stuti Mishras’ report on the unprecedented scenes below.

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Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:20 pm

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Bladerunner-style skies over upstate New York

The National Weather Service in Binghamton, New York, about 200 miles from the Canadian border, shared this Blade Runner-style view of the skies Wednesday morning.

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The sun is no longer visible, everything is orange, the parking lot lights came on and stuck at 50F, the forecasters tweeted.

Louise BoyleJune 7, 2023 4:05 pm

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