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US air quality plummets as Canadian wildfires spread

Environmental Sustainability

US air quality plummets as Canadian wildfires spread

On Tuesday, millions of people in the eastern US faced a gravely dangerous amount of unhealthy air as smoke from the wildfires in eastern Canada spread over the borders.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reported on Tuesday night that there were 414 fires burning throughout Canada, 239 of which were deemed to be "out of control." According to officials, 6.7 million acres have burned in this year’s fires.

According to CBC News, more than 150 fires are still burning in Quebec, forcing almost 14,000 people to evacuate. The Associated Press reported that authorities in Nova Scotia, further east, stated on Sunday that one wildfire had been put out, but a second that had burned roughly 100 square miles was still out of control.

Smoke from the flames has been spreading throughout the Midwest and northern United States in recent days. In all the regions, alerts were sent out warning of high levels of air pollution, especially for "sensitive groups," such as young children, the elderly, and those who have asthma or other respiratory disorders.

In the United States, wildfire air pollution has grown to be a serious health risk and is only getting worse. Researchers from Stanford University discovered a 27-fold increase in the number of people who had at least one day of poor air quality due to smoke during the previous ten years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency all maintain an interactive map of air quality data called AirNow that enables users to view the locations of active fires and evaluate local conditions and dangers.

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