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Smoky Skies Disrupt Life In New York City


Smoke from Canadian wildfires  rapidly darkened the skies of New York City and sent the air quality index soaring past 400 yesterday, well into the “hazardous” range. The numbers were the worst since U.S. authorities began recording air-quality measurements in 1999. Warnings were also in effect across a wide portion of the Northeast and Midwest.

The smoke forced people indoors and led to the cancellations of outdoor events and the delays of some flights because of low visibility. Gov. Kathy Hochul called the worsening air quality in New York “an emergency crisis,” warning that it could last several days. “People have to prepare for this over the long haul,” she said.

Canada, where hundreds of fires were burning out of control as of early yesterday, was also in for more haze. Parts of Quebec and Ontario were under a smog warning, and experts warned that the air in Toronto and elsewhere was likely to worsen.

 The poor air quality could have widespread effects among healthy people and serious ones for those with respiratory conditions. Such high readings are typical in smoggy megacities like Jakarta or New Delhi but rare in New York, where decades of state and federal laws have helped to reduce emissions.

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