Washington/New York/Toronto (BLAZETRENDS)
Millions of citizens (approximately 75 million live in the area) remain on alert for the risk of inhaling potentially harmful air from the hundreds of forest fires that are taking place in Canada, whose cloud of smoke has been visibly detected by NASA satellites US.
Through a statement, NASA has explained that although smoke from Canadian forest fires often passes into the United States several times in summer, it usually goes unnoticed, because it is relatively high in the atmosphere and because the winds tend to move the smoke upwards. east and towards the sea.
This has not been the case today, and as a result of a weather phenomenon known as a “coastal low,” smoke drifted into the southern and eastern US and degraded surface-level air quality that Millions of people breathe.
“Surface smoke contamination from New York to the DC region is the most significant since July 2002, when a similar event occurred,” said NASA scientist Ryan Stauffer.
Face mask in New York and Washington
In a statement, US President Joe Biden has asked the population to periodically check the air quality in the place where they are through the website of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Stay safe and follow the instructions of your local officials,” recommended the president, who has stated that what happened is “one more memory of the impacts of climate change.”
After the unusual images published on Wednesday of iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building surrounded by a cloud of orange smoke, the US Capitol in Washington woke up this Thursday mired in haze.
In a press conference, the mayor of the capital, Muriel Bowser, has confirmed that the city raised today to the purple alert level, the highest.
For this reason, it has recommended that the population not remain outside and if it is necessary to do so, wear a mask.
change of the wind
According to the director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), Christopher Rodriguez, it will not be until the last hour of Friday when the air quality begins to “improve significantly”, thanks to the fact that the winds will change.
Rodríguez has remarked that the public schools of the capital have canceled all outdoor activities and also the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Due to poor air quality, the White House has canceled an event to celebrate gay pride that was scheduled to take place on the south lawn of the presidential mansion and in which the singer Betty Who was going to participate.
The air quality in New York has begun to improve slightly this Thursday, although still at a level 5 of 6 “very unhealthy”.
The Health Commissioner has asked citizens not to go out unless it is “absolutely necessary” and has recommended the use of masks, such as the N95, for those who have to carry out activities abroad.
Philadelphia and Harrisburg, in Pennsylvania, and other large cities such as Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati or Indianapolis have also been affected by harmful particles in the air.
Visibility problems caused by the smoke covering the skies in the region led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to temporarily halt flights to Philadelphia and LaGuardia and delay all those to Newark.
According to data from the FlightAware air traffic monitoring website, but only a few cancellations.
In Canada, although air quality improved early Thursday, the Weather Service forecast that the indicator will drop back to “high risk” levels in cities like Toronto throughout the day.
In the Greater Toronto Area, where more than six million people live, one seventh of Canada’s population, the authorities are recommending the elderly, children and people with health problems to reduce outdoor activities that involve physical effort .
Meanwhile, of the around 400 forest fires that are still active in the country, almost half are out of control. Only in the province of Quebec there are 150 forest fires.
Biden insisted this Thursday on his offer to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his “unconditional support” to respond to the fires and recalled that more than 600 American firefighters have already been deployed in the area.
The latest data from the Canadian authorities indicate that since January the flames have consumed 3.8 million hectares of forest, when the average since 1990 is that forest fires burn a total of 2.5 million hectares per year.