Wildfires in Canada have caused a “code red” situation as far away as New York as smoke billows down the east coast over the major city.
The smoke emitted from wildfires that are plaguing the provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia has created hazardous air quality in New York City and other parts of the northeast USA.
Young people and those with respiratory problems living in the area are being warned of health implications from the fumes.
As it stands, New York, Bronx, Kings, Queens and Richmond counties have been issued a health warning by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
The department recommends that “individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects”.
READ MORE: New Yorkers ‘can smell the smoke’ as air quality worsens
The department has also warned that those with respiratory issues are at particular risk from adverse affects.
Contaminated air moved over the Great Lakes on Monday night and has continued to spread over the northeast regions on of Canada and the USA onTuesday, causing humidity to fall to as low as 25 percent.
The cause of the poor air quality is wildfires in Quebec and Nova Scotia, with destruction of property in some areas, although the fires are now contained.
Britta Merwin, FOX Weather meteorologist, said on Tuesday: “Air quality this morning is not great.
“What you’re trying to identify is areas marked in red that are unhealthy for everyone. Upstate New York, a little spot outside of Pittsburgh, (and) going over to Columbus, Ohio. We also have a spot very close to New York.”
New Jersey is also under a code red warning, with conditions across the Northeast expected to peak on Tuesday afternoon.
Merwin added: “We got a lot of sunset photos that were very vibrant with that glow of the sun.
“But to see this haziness over the sky, it’s enough to smoke particulate in the air that this could be a concern for air quality, not only for sensitive groups but for just about everybody that lives in the Northeast.”
Merwin also warned smoke is expected to last in the Northeast until Friday, areas around the Great Lakes will see improvements by Wednesday and Thursday.
In New York, poor air quality is likely to continue through Tuesday before a cold front moves in on Wednesday that should clear some of the residual smoke.
However, experts warn that air quality concerns will continue in the coming days.
Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said during a press conference on Tuesday: “It’s no secret that New York is facing extraordinary air quality conditions right now.
“Most New Yorkers – all New Yorkers – have seen the conditions out in the field today: The sky is hazy, visibility is terrible and you can smell the smoke in the air.”
The government platform AirNow tracks air quality in the area and awards ratings between zero and 500, with zero considered the cleanest air.
The rating in New York City reached the 150s on Tuesday, according to AirNow, while Canada’s capital, Ottowa, is nearly 250.
Canada has suffered some 420 wildfires in the past week. In the states, the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas are also dealing with the threat of wildfires as an unusual weather pattern has led to a rare critical fire risk being issued.