(FILE) A person walks next to a balustrade at a scenic point of the Mount Royal mountain overlooking the city of Montreal shrouded in haze of smog, Canada, 26 June 2023. EFE/EPA/ANDRE PICHETTE

States across US issue air quality alerts due to smoke from Canada wildfires

New York, US, Jun 28 (EFE).- Several states in the central and northeastern United States have warned that smoke from hundreds of active wildfires in Canada is affecting air quality which could damage people’s health.

The states of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Delaware, Kansas, Ohio, New York and Virginia have issued alerts and have asked the population to closely follow the pollution levels, which could affect people with respiratory problems, children and the elderly.

(FILE) A view of the city of Montreal shrouded in haze of smog seen from a scenic point of the Mount Royal mountain, Canada, 26 June 2023. EFE/EPA/ANDRE PICHETTE

Authorities recommend the use of N95 masks, as well as avoiding outdoor activities.

While major cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis – which according to the air pollution measurement website IQAir are among the four most polluted metropolises in the world at the moment – have already been affected, winds are expected to push the smoke to other parts of the country.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul warned that the smoke could “significantly impact” air quality across the stat. 
“We continue to closely monitor conditions and will be distributing masks in regions impacted by the smoke. I encourage all New Yorkers to stay up to date on the latest information and take appropriate steps to protect their health,” Hochul said.

The governor asked the state’s citizens to remain vigilant, especially those vulnerable to air pollution.

On Sunday, the Canadian city of Montreal, the largest city in the Quebec region, where there are a hundred active fires, recorded the highest pollution levels on the planet, forcing the cancellation of numerous outdoor activities.

On Wednesday, Toronto ranked as the fifth most polluted city on the planet, according to IQAir.

Earlier this month, authorities in several northeastern US states activated alerts for air pollution levels as a result of smoke from the Canadian fires.

A NASA scientist said at the time that surface smoke pollution from New York to the Washington Capital Region was the most significant since July 2002.

The smoke has also moved across the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain in western Europe, reaching as far south as the Canary Island off the coast of Africa. EFE