(NEW YORK) — Wildfires burning in Canada are continuing to create poor air quality conditions in the U.S. as the smoke makes its way south.
Hazy skies, low visibility and poor air quality will be present in most of the Northeast and the Midwest and even as far south as the Carolinas.
Air quality alerts have been issued in 17 states from Kansas to Vermont. Large cities with the lowest air quality include New York City, Albany, New York, and Cincinnati, a map by AirNow, a website that publishes air quality data, shows.
Cities with unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups include Philadelphia, Columbus and Washington, D.C.
At-risk populations, such as young children, the elderly or those with lung and heart disease, should especially avoid the outdoors, according to the advisories.
The smoke originated from wildfires in Quebec, where more than 160 forest fires are currently active. Some of the fires in the region were ignited by lightning strikes, according to NASA. Unusually dry and warm weather has fueled the fires.
The intensity of the fires has exceeded the capacity of water bombers, Quebec’s wildfire prevention agency announced on Monday, CTV reported.
Firefighters are currently unable to get the wildfires under control, François Legault, a member of the Canadian parliament serving Quebec, told reporters during a news conference on Monday. Firefighters in other provinces are unable to assist because they are battling their own fires but an additional 200 firefighters are traveling from France and the U.S., Legault said.
The number of wildfires in the country had grown past 400, officials said.
Northern U.S. states have been bogged under the haze of the migrating smoke from Canada since May after early-season wildfires began to spark.
Air quality alerts were issued for all of Montana and parts of Idaho, Colorado and Arizona due to wildfires in Alberta, in Western Canada.
Wildfires burning last week near Halifax, Nova Scotia, created hazardous air quality ratings in many of the regions affected by the wildfires currently burning in Quebec.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.