EPA index ranks NYC orange haze from Canadian wildfires as "very unhealthy" air pollution
The wildfires created an orange haze across all five boroughs of the New York metropolitan area, casting an Air Quality Health Advisory until Thursday morning as a result wind patterns pushing smoke from more than 150 forest fires in Canada
June 7, 2023 6:00pm
Updated: June 7, 2023 9:24pm
Air in New York City is reportedly the third most polluted in the world following New Delhi, India, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, the result of smoke from Canadian wildfires burning hundreds of miles away, but are impacting the U.S. Northeast, according to the IQair pollution tracking website.
The wildfires created an orange haze across all five boroughs of the New York metropolitan area, casting an Air Quality Health Advisory until Thursday morning as a result wind patterns pushing smoke from more than 150 forest fires in Quebec.
Authorities have deemed 110 of those fires to be out of control as the blaze continues to spread resulting in “unhealthy” air in the city.
Those conditions are expected to last until Sunday as New York enters a “Code Red” status, with the state Dept. of Environmental Control issuing a health warning into effect until 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
In a Tuesday night statement, NYC Mayor Eric Adams told New Yorkers to “limit … outdoor activities to the absolute necessities,” especially those with cardiac or respiratory issues.
Fox weather meteorologist Stephen McCloud told the New York Post the city will face the same air quality for the next several days.
“We’ll be in this same kind of weather pattern through today, and tomorrow as well,” he told The Post. “By Sunday night we should start to see improvement as a new storm system from the west approaches and starts to move this storm system out.”
“Once that storm system from the west starts to come in, it’s going to change the wind direction. Once the wind direction changes, the smoke will not be able to come down into parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic,” he said.
Currently, the five borough area is matching the air quality level of Toronto, Canada, which is facing a similar haze of southern-drifting wildfire smoke.
The city’s air quality improved Wednesday morning, dropping from 164 to 158 within a few hours, according to IQair, which uses an index from 0 to 500.
Still, the New York City air quality was the worst of any major city in the world, according to IQ Air.
“While conditions are anticipated to temporarily improve later tonight through tomorrow morning, they are expected to deteriorate further tomorrow afternoon and evening,” Adams said in a Tuesday night statement, at which time parts of the city had reached a “very unhealthy” level, according to the EPA index.
Meteorologists have said the orange haze has partially been exacerbated as a result of warm temperatures and extremely dry conditions coupled with the smoke and haze traveling southward as far as Nova Scotia and British Columbia, reportedly displacing tens of thousands of people.
New Yorkers are able to monitor real time air quality online at the Environmental and Data Health Portal.