New York air quality: alerts in place as city hit with smoke caused by Canada wildfires - what happened?
Yankees vs White Sox is one of two MLB games cancelled due to the smog, with flights, schools, Broadway shows and more suffering disruptions
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In a scene out of a science-fiction blockbuster, New York City is covered head-to-toe with an orange glow as a result of the smoke from wildfires in Canada, with 'very unhealthy' air quality alerts issued. This has brought disruption to air travel, education, outdoor activities like professional sport and more.
The Big Apple saw the arrival of a thick layer of smoke on Wednesday (7 June), caused by the devastating wildfires sweeping Canada. At least 13 other US states, mainly on the East Coast, have also been affected and have similar warnings in place, with an estimated 115 million people impacted.
According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), levels soared above 350 at one point and were deemed 'hazardous'. As a result, measurements coming out of New York are the worst ever recorded.
New York City mayor Eric Adams has said the state recommends "vulnerable New Yorkers stay inside" and added: "This is an unprecedented event in our city, and New Yorkers must take precautions. At the moment, we recommend vulnerable New Yorkers stay inside, and all New Yorkers should limit outdoor activity to the greatest extent possible."
Here is everything you need to know about the incident; including the reason why the air pollution is so bad in New York and how the city has been affected by it.
What has caused the air quality alerts in New York?
The entire northeast of the US is currently battling smoke that has been swept south from more than 400 wildfires that have been devastating their Canadian neighbours, of which has led to mass evacuations in provinces like Quebec.
Officials have warned that it could be the country's worst wildfire season on record, as 6.7 million acres have already been scorched by the blaze.
How long is the smoke going to last in New York?
Experts have warned that the smokey blanket suffocating New Yorkers and a dozen of other states in the US could persist through Thursday, 8 June, and even as long as into the weekend.
US National Weather Service have noted that the weather system that has been dragging the fumes from Canada over "will probably be hanging around for at least the next few days" as the smog drags as far as North Carolina.
Bryan Ramsey, who is a meteorologist from the US National Weather Service, added: "Conditions are likely to remain unhealthy, at least until the wind direction changes or the fires get put out. Since the fires are raging, they’re really large, they’re probably going to continue for weeks, but it’s really just going be all about the wind shift".
What effects has the smoke and air quality had in New York?
As the air quality reached its worsening levels, schools across the East Coast have gone on to either close or cancel outdoor activities. This is due to the 'unhealthy' air pollution with children's safety a priority.
While New York's buzzing Broadway scene was also brought to a grinding halt on Wednesday, as Jodie Comer was forced to end her show Prima Facie after just 10 minutes as the Killing Eve star had said: "I can’t breathe in this air."
A spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter: "Today’s matinee of Prima Facie was halted approximately 10 minutes into the performance after Jodie Comer had difficulty breathing due to the poor air quality in New York City because of smoke from the Canadian wildfires".
Major League Baseball (MLB) games have also been disrupted by the air quality levels, cancelling two games including the Yankees vs White Sox in New York and Phillies vs Tigers in Philadelphia. This is due to "unprecedented circumstances" and will be played on another date.
The conditions have also had an affect on the city's air travel, with a number of flights to and from New York and other affected states delayed or cancelled due to reduced visibility as a result of the wildfires in Canada.