The haze that is blanketing the East Coast is a result of the Canadian wildfires

Extreme Weather Events in Canada and Beyond: Welcome to the Age of Flames, or The Age of Fires, Stephen Pyne, from the North to the East Coast

For people who are not involved in disaster planning, this situation is something that they need to pay attention to, according to the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

“Make no mistake: From the wildfires in Canada to the increasing severity of the weather in our own backyard, these extreme weather events are proof that the climate crisis is getting worse,” Murphy said.

In other words: East Coast, welcome to the Pyrocene, or the Age of Flames, as fire historian Stephen Pyne calls it. Climate change and human meddling in the landscape have combined to make wildfires bigger and more intense, big enough to send clouds of toxic smoke not only from Canada to the East Coast, but across whole continents. Climate change is acting as a performance enhancer, says Pyne. There isn’t a reason to believe that those trends will suddenly stop.

The air quality across the US deteriorated on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning it was seen in news and on social media.

In Canada, there have been 2,289 fires that have burned a whopping 9.1 million acres and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

A cloud of smoke from Canadian wildfires flunged eastward and southeastward in New York City and Washington, D.C.

New York City’s public school system canceled all outdoors activities because of the weather. recess and outdoor physical education classes were scrapped by public schools in Washington, D.C.

“Unless more fires start burning, I don’t expect the concentrations to go up too much higher,” DeCarlo said. “I think the next couple days we’re going to see a shift in that weather pattern [which will] start to push that smoke away from where we are.”

Satellite data and readings from monitors on the ground are gathered by the research team. Then, they can overlay estimates of smoke pollution for the contiguous US with population data. The western US is more likely to be affected by fire smoke than the Northeast. But there are a lot more densely populated cities in the Northeast that were affected by the pollution this week, which is another factor that makes this event so remarkable.

Officials in some areas were urging people to stay inside as much as they can, avoid travel if possible and refrain from any exercise or strenuous activity.

The haze has affected a wide range of activities, from air travel to sporting events to outdoor activities.

Millions of people along the east coast and further inland woke up Wednesday morning to a cloud of hazy air after smoke from fires in Canada floated south across the border.

“It’s a global problem now,” says Mary Prunicki, director of air pollution and health research at Stanford University’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research. The short- and long-term effects of wildfire smoke on people are unknown, but it can be devastating for vulnerable people. “This is relatively new, to have this type of massive exposure to a group that’s never been exposed before,” she says. \

Reduce your exposure to the particulate matter in wildfire smoke by staying indoors as much as possible, wearing an N95 or a similar respirator outside and limiting strenuous activity.

Millions of Americans were under air quality advisories on Thursday, as smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to fill the skies.

The worst day of pollution for the average American was June 7, 2023, and the weather forecast for Canada’s wildfires, according to AccuWeather

“There’s nothing you can do about the processes of the atmosphere,” says William Vizuete, a professor in the department of of environmental sciences and engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “But we need to understand those processes so we can eventually understand what we’re exposed to when we’re exposed to those [particles].”

The air quality will likely get worse in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region in the coming days due to the weather patterns, according to AccuWeather.

There have been new fires in eastern Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec in recent weeks.

Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety, said at a Wednesday briefing that there are 414 active wildfires, with 239 of those considered out of control.

He says firefighters from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States are also helping out. The U.S. has so far deployed more than 600 firefighters and support personnel to Canada.

The situation gives us a glimpse of what we might expect to see in the future as climate change brings about more frequent and extreme weather events in different places.

A change in weather could improve air quality in one of two ways, West explains: Rainfall could remove the harmful particles from the air, while wind could change the direction of the smoke altogether.

University of Denver professor Alex Huffman told Colorado Public Radio that people can also monitor the air quality around them, use a high-quality air filter in their homes and seal up openings in their doors and windows.

“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to develop ways to measure air quality and create an air quality index that can easily communicate what that means to the public,” he says, “and I think we’re seeing some of the fruits of that.”

The worst day of pollution for the average American was Wednesday, June 7th, 2023. A thick haze of smoke swept in from wildfires in Canada, blanketing much of the Northeast with record-shattering levels of harmful particulate pollution.

The verge on wildfires: How many micrograms is needed to protect yourself and your family? An analysis by Marshall Burke and the Verge

The Verge was on the phone with Stanford associate professor Marshall Burke when he got the results of his team’s analysis via Slack. “Jesus,” he says — audibly surprised, even though he expected the numbers to be bad. It is really remarkable. The number is honestly pretty shocking.”

Those figures represent an average for Americans. Some people in the worst-hit areas were exposed to as much as 500 micrograms, an “insanely high level,” according to Burke. New York City and parts of upstate New York were the hardest hit.

Burke says that this is a completely historic event. Historic events are becoming commonplace with climate change setting the stage for more intense wildfires. It feels like a wake up call. It feels like he’s getting a sample of things to come.

Experts also encourage owners to keep a go bag for their pet — including food, water, medicine, first aid supplies, a leash or harness and toys — in case your family needs to evacuate.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pets should stay indoors as much as possible when the air quality is low and take only brief bathroom breaks outside. Birds should not go outside when it’s smoky.

The quality of the air is quantified using a scale that ranges from zero to 500, with a lower number indicating better air quality and anything over 300 being hazardous.

The particles in PM 2.5 can get into the deep parts of your lungs and blood, so they are even worse.

These are tiny droplets in the air that can have a negative impact on health. The particulate matter in the air is caused by the fires.

Some of the more technical wildfire terms you might hear are summarized in this breakdown of some of the best ways to protect yourself and your family.

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