Wildfire Smoke Brings Air Quality Health Advisories to New York

WEEHAWKEN, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 7: People stand in a park as the New York City skyline is covered with haze and smoke from Canada wildfires on June 7, 2023 in Weehawken, New Jersey. Air pollution alerts were issued across the United States due to smoke from wildfires that have …
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty

Wildfire smoke stemming from Canada is triggering air quality health advisories to various areas of the country, including New York.

The wildfire smoke, descending from eastern Canada, is continuing to make its way into the U.S., particularly affecting the Empire State.

Some areas — Long Island, New York City Metro, Eastern Lake Ontario, Central New York and Western New York — are under an air quality health advisory as air quality conditions are expected to worsen Wednesday.

Per the advisory:

The Wednesday, June 7, Air Quality Health Advisory regions consist of the following: Long Island which includes Nassau and Suffolk counties; New York City Metro which includes New York City, Rockland, and Westchester counties; Eastern Lake Ontario which includes northern Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Oswego, and Wayne counties; Central New York which includes Allegany, Broome, southern Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, southern Herkimer, Livingston, Madison, Onondaga, Oneida, Ontario, Otsego, Tioga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, and Yates counties; and Western New York which includes Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming counties.

“DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100,” the advisory continues, identifying the pollutant as “Fine Particulate Matter.”

The Statue of Liberty seen through smoke as wildfires in Canada cause hazy conditions in New York City on June 7, 2023.  (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty)

“Fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter,” the advisory reads, citing short-term health issues that can arise from exposure. That includes ear, nose, and throat irritation as well as sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. It also noted it can worsen existing health conditions.

Further, the advisory urges New Yorkers to take steps to reduce pollution, urging them to take mass transit, use fans to circulate air rather than an air conditioner, and “limit use of household appliances.” It remains unclear how doing those things would reduce the actual problem at hand: Reducing wildfire smoke in the area.

The advisory is in effect until 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

Several other areas of the country are also experiencing decreased air quality due to the smoke, spanning from New Hampshire to South Carolina. According to NBC News, “about 98 million people in parts of 18 states” are under air quality alerts:

New York City ranked second and Detroit third among major cities for the worst air quality worldwide around 1 a.m. ET today, according to IQAir, a Swiss air monitoring company.


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