Here we “smoke” again.
Another blast of Canadian wildfire smoke is infiltrating New York City this week, prompting a new air quality advisory from the city’s Emergency Management department, which is urging residents most vulnerable to the haze to take precautions.
The city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is expected to hit 120 on Monday, a level unhealthy for at-risk groups such as children, seniors and individuals with cardiac or respiratory problems, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. As of 10 a.m., the Midtown AQI was a moderate 53, according to Airnow.gov, but conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout the day as the latest smoke plume moves in from the north and west.
The five boroughs have already been hit this summer by several blasts of Canadian wildfire smoke — the worst of which occurred in early June, when at one point the city found itself covered in an apocalyptic orange haze and the AQI soared into the mid-400s — a level considered extremely unhealthy for anyone, regardless of age or preexisting conditions.
It’s not clear how long the smoke will stick around this week, but city officials urge the public to take precautions and protect themselves.
“We have a robust infrastructure in place and stand fully prepared to respond to air quality conditions,” said city Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. “While our teams work tirelessly behind the scenes, we urge all New Yorkers, especially those in high-risk categories, to adopt precautionary measures to safeguard their health. Alongside these actions, let us remember the power of community resilience. Times like these underscore the vital importance of looking out for one another, particularly for those of us who are more vulnerable to health risks.”
Iscol’s statement comes less than a week after the Adams administration took heavy criticism from the City Council over its handling of the June smoke crisis.
“While we may see fluctuation in the air quality in the coming days, we also have tools and guidance to help us navigate conditions,” added Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Pay attention to airnow.gov, listen to your body and take action if you’re feeling the effects of poor air quality.”
Anyone of young or advanced age, or who suffers from heart or lung ailments, should take care during the smoke condition. The city advises them to limit outdoor activities and, if they feel it’s necessary, wear N95 masks; the face coverings are available for free at local police precincts, firehouses and libraries.
New Yorkers are also urged to subscribe to the Notify NYC alert system to get the latest information about the air quality advisory and other emergencies. The Emergency Management Department also has an advanced warning system that will be used to communicated with groups that serve people with disabilities and those with access and/or functional needs.
Wildfires have been burning out of control in Canada for months now thanks to prolonged droughts and heat. Nearly 900 forest fires in six different provinces coast to coast have occurred this year, USA Today reported.