Smoke from the wildfires in Alberta and northern British Columbia has blanketed several U.S. states, impacting air quality and visibility as far east as New York and as far south as North Carolina.
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the U.S. interior began issuing alerts Friday and continued to advise residents about lingering smoke through the weekend.
By Monday, some of those accounts appeared to recognize the toll days of air quality warnings and reduced visibility alerts were having.
“You may be tired of hearing this, but thick smoke aloft … will continue to stream across the region today into tonight,” the NWS Twitter account for Sioux Falls, South Dakota, posted Monday morning.
“Sick of the smoke? We definitely are,” said a Sunday tweet from NWS Salt Lake City, Utah, advising smoke would linger through Monday before potentially dissipating on Tuesday.
As of Monday afternoon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index showed parts of eastern South Dakota, southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming were experiencing unhealthy air quality.
Moderate air quality warnings stretched from Idaho through Midwestern states like Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan to New York and Vermont in the east.
The smoke created hazy conditions in New York City that gave Monday’s sunrise a reddish hue, according to photos posted by the National Weather Service.
The NWS office covering the Newport Beach area of North Carolina said to watch for a similar “hazy/reddish look to the sky” over the next couple of days due to the wildfire smoke.
The NWS says the smoke is expected to dissipate across most states by Tuesday evening.
Despite the long reach of the smoke in the U.S., air quality remains the worst near the epicentres of the fires in Canadian provinces.
People in parts of Alberta, B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan were at either “moderate” or “high” health risk due to the smoke as of Monday afternoon, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Air Quality Health Index.
Residents living in high risk areas are advised to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid physical activity outside. Anyone with asthma and other existing respiratory conditions, as well as the elderly and children, are considered to be most at risk from poor air quality.