The notice came early this Wednesday. In the middle of a sunny spring day, but with an unprecedented haze that drew a strange grayish veil over the city, the meteorological service warned that air quality in and around Washington was “harmful”. What is called “Code Red”.
Later the official notice came: the schools canceled recess and outdoor activities even tomorrow and forced the closing of doors and windows.
Throats itch, eyes burn. Allergy sufferers and asthmatics live a nightmare.
While social networks were filled with unusual photos with hazy and reddish skies, sports training in parks and public places were suspended and finally experts advised millions of Americans to stay at home and not go out except for emergencies. To asthmatics and those with lung problems, they recommended returning to an element that nobody wanted to return to: the chinstr
The smoke originating from the forest fires in Canada is already hitting the US cital, after turning New York into one of the cities with the worst air quality in the world, and It affects millions of people on the East Coast of the United States.
“Code Red” is the fourth worst of six color categories—green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and maroon—in the US Air Quality Index. At some private monitoring stations in the DC area they proached code purple levels.
At “code red” levels, the air is not healthy for everyone, but sensitive groups (the young, the elderly, people with cardiovascular conditions) are most at risk. The health risks can become significant for anyone. Experts advise that it’s best to limit outdoor activity and keep windows closed while indoors.
According to NASA air quality expert Ryan Stauffer, the last Code Red for Washington caused by fireworks on Independence Day was on February 19, 2011.
The alert also reaches the animals. the washington zoo kept the animals in their shelters older or vulnerable, including a two-week-old baby gorilla.
Before Washington, Canadian smoke invaded New York, which is still on alert. In Manhattan, the phenomenon shrouded the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and other landmarks in a blanket of gray-orange haze, as commuters fidgeted as they ran up and down the subway steps.
It was a spectral panorama for the city, a landsce that seemed ocalyptic, from a science fiction movie.
Although flights to New York remained unchanged, some disruptions began around noon and then New York’s La Guardia airport suspended departures for a few hours due to “low visibility.”
IQAir, a technology company that tracks air quality and pollution, said New York’s air quality it was one of the worst in the world on tuesday night, almost at the level of New Delhi. The city is not usually listed in the top 3,000.
The smoke is coming across the border from Canada, where hundreds of wildfires remain unchecked, and dangerous conditions are expected to persist through Wednesday and perhs later in the week.
“He’s going to be here for a while”said Bryan Ramsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New York.
in canada today more than 400 forest fires burn, compounding a fire season that is expected to get worse. Quebec, Toronto, and Ontario were engulfed in smoke, which then moved to New York and began moving south down the East Coast to Washington, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina, among others.
It is estimated that about 26,000 people, aided by soldiers, had been evacuated across Canada on Monday, Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, told a press conference. “The images we’ve seen so far this season are some of the most serious ever seen in Canada,” Blair said.
Many Canadians who have had to flee their homes in recent days have had just hours to pack up before fleeing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference Monday. And he added that everything indicated that “this may be an especially severe wildfire season throughout the summer.”
As the air quality crisis drags on, older adults, children, and people with heart or lung conditions, including asthma, They will be in particular danger. authorities warned.
The New York Road Runners organization, owner and organizer of the New York Marathon, asked runners who live in smoke-contaminated areas not to run on World Running Day, which is celebrated this Wednesday.
“If you are in New York or any affected area, please read and follow your city’s health advisory regarding air quality for June 7, and consider running another day”.
Jennifer Stowell, a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston University School of Public Health who has studied the health effects of wildfires, told The New York Times that smoke from wildfires “may be more toxic” to the lungs than typical urban air pollution because of the size and potential for damage of the microparticles.