Hundreds of wildfires continue to blaze across Canada, prompting heavy smoke and creating poor air quality. This year, the fires have already burned over 8 million acres across Canada — a record high.
Environment Canada (EC) has issued a special air quality statement for most of southern Ontario, stating that there are high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest wildfires.
“Smoke plumes from forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario may result in deteriorated air quality through most of this week,” the statement reads. “Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour.”
According to EC’S Air Quality Health Index, the Canadian cities with the highest risk are:
Fort Smith: Level 9
Montreal: Level 7
Ottawa: Level 10
Quebec: Level 7
Toronto: Level 7
Yellowknife: Level 8
Online, Canadians cannot believe what they're seeing outside their windows. For many, this is their first time seeing their city concealed in thick smoke.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” a Canadian user tweeted.
— Natalie (@cest_nat_) June 6, 2023
“Downtown Toronto has disappeared in the smoke,” another shared.
— Not Blue Check Steve (@notsmoothsteve) June 6, 2023
A red sun and sky. The smell of smoke is everywhere in Montreal today. There are more than 160 actives fires burning in the province. #smogwarning #forestfires #redsun #redsky #smoke pic.twitter.com/mkkGnKNSQG
— David Skinner (@DavidFSkinner) June 6, 2023
— David Baluku (@IamKingD10) June 6, 2023
“Fires are spreading fast, the smoke turned the sky orange,” A TikTok user shared from Deseronto, Ontario.
Smoke from the Canadian wildfires has also made its way to New York, covering the city in smog.
— Collin Gross (@CollinGrossWx) June 6, 2023
This is Upstate NY, we can barely breath outside from the smoke coming from the Canadian fires. You can really see the smoke covering our hills in the distance. Put my chickens away early, and we’re staying inside this evening. Stay safe to everyone that’s under the air quality… pic.twitter.com/r9vXekjzRg
— Blue Starr 🇺🇸💫 (@bluestarrfl) June 6, 2023
One New Yorker tweeted, “We can barely breathe outside from the smoke coming from the Canadian fires. You can really see the smoke covering our hills in the distance. Put my chickens away early, and we’re staying inside this evening.”
An air quality alert is in full effect until at least midnight on Tuesday. Canadian wildfires are the source for these haze filled skies. This is my view in East Syracuse and you can even smell smoke in the air. pic.twitter.com/rV743ZQdsY
— Sydni Eure (@SydniEure) June 6, 2023
“You can even smell smoke in the air,” another user shared.
Environment Canada says those with “lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.”
They've advised Canadians to stop outdoor activities, clean indoor air with air purifiers, close all doors and windows, and wear masks outside.
Poor air quality may continue throughout the week.