Smoke from Canadian wildfires sparks Air Quality Alert for NYC

The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert on Tuesday for New York City and parts of the Tri-State due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires drifting across the region.

In addition, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for parts of New Jersey.

Use caution with any potential ignition sources for fires. Any fires that develop may quickly get out of control and become difficult to contain.

The smoky skies are the result of more than 160 forest fires burning in Quebec during what federal officials say is shaping up to be among Canada’s worst fire seasons ever.

With more than 480 wilderness firefighters on the ground, Quebec can fight around 30 fires, Quebec Premier Franois Legault told reporters Monday, adding that normally firefighters would come from other provinces to help.

“When I talk to the premiers of other provinces, they have their hands full,” Legault told a briefing in Quebec City.

On Friday afternoon there were 324 fires burning across Canada. As of Monday morning that had grown to 413, and by late afternoon, the total jumped again.

“The situation remains serious,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said. “The images that we have seen so far this season are some of the most severe we have we have ever witnessed in Canada and the current forecast for the next few months indicates the potential for continued higher-than-normal fire activity.”

More than 160 fires have been reported in Quebec including at least 114 that are out of control. More than 173,000 hectares have burned this year in Quebec’s “intensive protection fire zone” – the area where normally all fires are actively fought – compared with a 10-year average of 247 hectares as of the same date, Quebec’s wildfire prevention agency, SOPFEU said.

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