Millions in the US under Air Quality Alerts as Canadian Wildfires Continue to Spread

Millions in US under Air Quality Alerts due to Canadian Wildfires

Tens of millions of people in the United States were under air quality alerts on Wednesday due to smoke from Canadian wildfires drifting south. The smoke has turned the sky murky brown in some of the country’s biggest cities, saturating the air with harmful pollution. The wildfires in Canada have been spreading to the US since May, with East Coast states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, being the most affected. The smoke has drifted as far south as South Carolina. In light of this, officials have urged people to limit outdoor activity and take necessary precautions.

Cause of Poor Air Quality

The air quality alerts were triggered by the detection of fine-particle pollution, known as PM 2.5, which can irritate the lungs. Wildfire smoke blocks the shorter wavelengths of light such as yellow, green and blue, leaving just the red and orange to pass through. It’s why the sky turns orange during wildfires.

Extent of Air Pollution

The extent of air pollution due to Canadian wildfires has been immense. Here’s what the numbers say:

AreaAir Quality Index
New York City340+
Delhi, India318
Detroit, Michigan194

Impact on People’s Health

The poor air quality has a severe impact on people’s health, with a higher potential cause of respiratory issues. People with pre-existing respiratory problems, such as heart or breathing issues, children, and older adults, may be particularly sensitive and must stay indoors. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has advised people in affected areas to keep their doors and windows closed to avoid exposure to harmful pollutants.

Response to the Situation

The situation has prompted authorities to take measures to mitigate the impact of air pollution. These include:

AreaResponse
New York CityPublic schools canceled outdoor activities
New York CityCity dwellers were encouraged to wear face masks
New York CityThe mayor urged New Yorkers to limit outdoor activity
South CarolinaOfficials recommended keeping doors and windows closed

Current Status of Canadian Wildfires

The wildfires in Canada have been spreading rapidly, with more than 150 active fires in a particularly fierce start to the summer season. As of now:

414 Wildfires Burning in Canada

There are 414 wildfires burning in Canada, 239 of which are considered “out of control,” according to Canadian Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair.

Evacuation and Government Response

The situation has prompted an extensive evacuation plan and government response. An estimated 20,183 people remain evacuated from homes and communities. However, the government has responded promptly to the situation, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deploying hundreds of armed forces members to provide additional support to firefighters and affected communities. The US Forest Service has provided 648 personnel as of today.

Conclusion

The current situation in the US and Canada due to wildfires is alarming and highlights the need to take measures to mitigate the impact of air pollution caused by human-induced climate change. The severity of the situation reveals how vulnerable human beings, animals, and nature can become when we do not take care of our planet. It is always crucial to remember that our actions have consequences.

FAQs

1) What is the cause of the poor air quality in the US?

The poor air quality in the US is due to smoke from Canadian wildfires that has drifted south.

2) How is air quality alerts triggered?

Air quality alerts are triggered by detecting fine-particle pollution known as PM 2.5, which can irritate the lungs.

3) How has the air quality affected people’s health?

The poor air quality has potentially caused respiratory issues and affects people with pre-existing respiratory problems, children, and older adults the most.

4) What are authorities doing to mitigate the impact of air pollution?

Authorities have canceled outdoor activities in public schools and encouraged city dwellers to wear face masks and limit outdoor activity.

5) What is the current status of Canadian wildfires?

There are 414 wildfires burning in Canada, 239 of which are considered “out of control,” according to Canadian Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair.

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