June 6, 2023: Many individuals have been sharing pictures on social media of vibrant orange sunrises and sunsets. These captivating hues are the result of smoke from wildfires that are currently raging across eastern Canada.
The smoke has now descended to ground level in our area, creating a hazy atmosphere with the distinct smell of wood smoke. According to Tony Ansuini, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Buffalo, this smoke will likely linger for a while. He explained that the northwest wind is carrying the wildfire smoke across New York State, and with low pressure off the eastern United States, this northwest flow is expected to continue throughout the week.
Inhaling the fine particles in the smoke can harm our health. As a precautionary measure, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality health advisory for several counties, including Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, and Wayne, until midnight Tuesday. This warning will probably be extended.
To stay safe, the agency recommends that people, particularly young children and those with respiratory issues such as asthma or heart disease, limit strenuous outdoor activities. In response to the advisory, several local school districts, including Rochester, Brighton, Brockport, and Pittsford, have already moved outdoor gym classes and recess indoors. Additionally, semifinal flag football games have been rescheduled to Wednesday.
In Canada, the wildfire situation is dire. Federal officials reported that over 6.7 million acres have already burned in 2023, marking one of the most devastating starts to the wildfire season. More than 14,000 people in Quebec have been evacuated due to over 150 fires, as reported by CBC News. While firefighters managed to contain one wildfire in Nova Scotia on Sunday, another continues to burn uncontrollably, covering an area of nearly 100 square miles, according to the Associated Press.
The impact of these blazes extends beyond Canada. Hazy skies have been observed as far south as South Carolina. In addition, parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Southeastern Minnesota, and Wisconsin are currently under air quality advisories due to the smoke.
It is crucial to stay informed about air quality conditions and take necessary precautions to protect their health during this period of smoky conditions.