Canada Wildfires Headed for Record, While Smoke Forces Northern US Indoors

Jun 7, 2023

Canada Wildfires Headed for Record, While Smoke Forces Northern US Indoors

Wildfires are burning from one end of Canada to another. They have destroyed forests and caused thousands of people to leave. Now, they are pushing smoke into the US. This has prompted air quality alerts in 17 states. 

The fires have burned more than eight million acres in Canada. This could be the worst fire season Canada has ever seen. A half-million of those acres are in Quebec. That's where four out of 10 current wildfires are burning. As of Tuesday, 164 fires were being fought in Quebec, 114 of these fires are too big to control. The government is asking other provinces to help. 

“When I talk to the premiers of other provinces, they have their hands full,” Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters.

Legault said Quebec can't deal with more than 30 fires at a time. That's because they only have less than 500 firefighters working. 

Meanwhile, US officials are telling people to stay inside because of the smoke from the north.  

The National Weather Service in Chicago said ozone and particle levels are higher in the air. This is not good for sensitive groups. 

AirNow is a government website on air quality. It reported that New York City, Cincinnati, and Albany, New York, had the worst air quality. It was a little better in Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Columbus, Ohio. However, it is still not safe for sensitive groups. 

In other places, the smoke has caused the skies to look hazy and sunsets to look orange, even as far south as the Carolinas. 

Photo from Reuters. 

Reflect: What are some potential consequences of poor air quality on both the environment and human health?

According to the article, which US city is experiencing the worst air quality due to the wildfires? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. Quebec
b. Washington DC
c. North Carolina
d. New York City
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