Canadian wildfire smoke moves into Northeast U.S.

New York City has some of the worst air quality in the country this week because of smoke that’s drifted south from wildfires in Canada. The city had an orange glow Tuesday morning, with the sun obscured by a smoky haze, reported by CNBC. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory Tuesday for several counties and surrounding suburbs. Ratings for air quality reached into the 150s on Tuesday, according to AirNow. Those levels are considered unhealthy for all people and significantly above exposure recommendations from the World Health Organization.

Fire and Smoke map,
Fire and Smoke map,

The sky over the city had an orange glow on Tuesday morning and the sun was largely obscured. Officials warned residents to limit time outdoors and emphasized that people with respiratory illnesses or heart disease are especially vulnerable to the dangerous air quality conditions. The New York Times reported that smoke brought hazy skies to parts of New York State and also Vermont on Tuesday, and air quality alerts were also issued across large swaths of Minnesota. Hundreds of wildfires burned across Canada, exacerbating an active wildfire season that is expected to worsen, and sending smoke into much of the U.S.

Haze blanketed much of Ottawa and Toronto, while all of New York City was under an air quality alert; by the afternoon, the Manhattan skyline was obscured.

The Oregonian reported that smoke is also causing unhealthy air quality across Oregon, but just two sentences of the report by Gosia Wozniacka were available to non-subscribers. The Seattle Times, however, reported that Canada’s intense wildfires now spread from the western provinces to Quebec, with hundreds of active fires. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a poor air quality alert for New England, a day after parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota received similar advisories. Last week, U.S. officials as far south as Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania reported being affected by the wildfires.

The EPA said the smoke will linger for a few days in New England.

“It’s not unusual for us to get fire smoke in our area. It’s very typical in terms of northwest Canada,” said Darren Austin, a meteorologist and senior air quality specialist with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. But the smoke usually has remained aloft and doesn’t affect people’s health, he said.

The Quebec-area fires are both large and relatively close, about 500 to 600 miles (roughly 800 to 970 kilometers) away from Rhode Island. And they followed wildfires in Nova Scotia, which caused a brief air quality alert on May 30, Austin said.

In Connecticut, smoke from Canadian wildfires lingered overnight on Monday and covered the entire state by Tuesday morning. WTNH-TV News reported that the smoke boosted fine particulate levels starting Monday evening, pushing them into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Smoke map, Northeast U.S., by
Smoke map, Northeast U.S., by

The Northeast smoke is the result of more than 150 fires in Canada; it has drifted toward Connecticut and stalled in the Northeast U.S. by an upper-level, low-pressure system, according to Connecticut’s DEEP.

Those with asthma or lung disease, and/or the elderly are at risk if they spend a long time outside. Last week, the American Lung Association issued an air quality alert for increased fine particulate matter levels. Check the Fire and Smoke Map at for detailed information about your area, and is another excellent source for air quality warnings.

Wildfire smoke and air quality, August 31, 2021

Forecast for wildfire smoke
Forecast for wildfire smoke at 12:01 a.m. PDT Sept. 1, 2021.

Above is the forecast for the distribution of smoke from wildfires at 12:01 a.m. PDT September 1, 2021.

Below is the current air quality status, obtained at 2:22 p.m. PDT August 31, 2021 from There is not much pollution in the East, due in part to Hurricane Ida.

Air quality (Ozone, PM2.5, & PM10) at 2:24 p.m. PDT Aug. 31, 2021
Air quality (Ozone, PM2.5, & PM10) at 2:24 p.m. PDT Aug. 31, 2021.

Smoke and air quality August 24, 2021

Posted on Categories WildfireTags ,
Satellite photo smoke wildfires
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires at 5:51 p.m. PDT Aug 23, 2021.

Wildfires in Southern Oregon and Northern California continue to have a large effect on the air quality in those areas and neighboring states. The fires that are the largest producers of smoke in California are Monument, River, McCash, Antelope, Dixie, and Caldor. Several fires in Western Oregon are also contributors. After receiving rain in the last few weeks fire activity has decreased significantly in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Below is the forecast for wildfire smoke at 9 p.m. PDT Tuesday.

Smoke forecast for 9 p.m. PDT August 24, 2021 wildfires fire
Forecast for near surface smoke at 9 p.m. PDT August 24, 2021.
Air Quality at 6:48 a.m. PDT August 24, 2021
Air Quality at 6:48 a.m. PDT August 24, 2021.

Smoke and air quality, August 21, 2021

Air Quality, PM2.5 & PM10, at 6:32 a.m. PDT Aug 21, 2021
Air Quality, PM2.5 & PM10, at 6:32 a.m. PDT Aug 21, 2021.

The map above shows the air quality, PM2.5 and PM10, at 6:32 a.m. PDT Aug 21, 2021.

The map below is the forecast for the distribution of wildfire smoke at 3 p.m. PDT Sunday August 22.

Forecast for near surface smoke
Forecast for near surface smoke at 3 p.m. PDT August 22, 2021.

Smoke forecast and air quality, August 8, 2021

Air Quality (PM2.5 & PM10) at 7:07 p.m. PDT Aug 8, 2021
Air Quality (PM2.5 & PM10) at 7:07 p.m. PDT Aug 8, 2021. AirNow.

Wildfires in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Canada are creating smoke that is affecting air quality in most of the Western United States.

Smoke Forecast for 2 a.m. PDT August, 9 2021
Forecast for near surface smoke at 2 a.m. PDT August 9, 2021. NOAA.