Air Quality Alert in effect for parts of northern NY and NJ due to smoke from wildfires in Canada

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- An Air Quality Alert remained in effect Tuesday for northern parts of New York and New Jersey due to smoke from wildfires burning in Canada.

The alert was first put in place on Monday and New York City Emergency Management said forecasts showed that the Tri-State could feel the effects of the fires over the next few days.

As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Air Quality Index in New York City was 89, meaning the level of pollution in the air was considered moderate.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if you are unusually sensitive to particle pollution, consider reducing your activity level or shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.

In New York City and the surrounding metro area, the AQI was expected to remain between the high side of moderate and the low side of unhealthy for sensitive groups for the rest of Tuesday.

In the event the AQI does eclipse 100, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens should take any of these steps to reduce their exposure:

  • Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don't breathe as hard.
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
  • Be active outdoors when air quality is better.

When the AQI exceeds 150, officials say everyone, not just people in sensitive groups, should begin to take precautions.

"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," NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said.

"Pay attention to, listen to your body and take action if you're feeling the effects of poor air quality," Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said.

Safety Tips:

  • Full guidance from the NYC Department of Health is available at
  • The best way to limit exposure to poor air quality is to reduce time outside and limit strenuous activities. The threshold to take these actions, depends on your individual level of risk.
  • Call 911 if you or someone you're caring for has trouble breathing.
  • Now is a good time to pick up a mask, in case air quality deteriorates. The city is already making masks available at FDNY firehouses and NYPD precincts and is looking to expand supplies to more vulnerable communities.
  • When air quality is poor, wearing a high-quality mask (e.g., N95) can reduce exposure to harmful pollutants. We will continue to communicate with New Yorkers about air quality through the summer. The situation will change regularly but we can be prepared for the months ahead.
  • The City will provide alerts if conditions deteriorate further (e.g., AQI above 200), but warnings sent by your body are equally important. New Yorkers should listen to their body. Reactions to poor air quality can include watery eyes, scratchy throat, headaches, or shortness of breath.
  • If you feel any of these conditions, go indoors and limit time outside.

Air Quality Tracker | ABC7 Air Quality Tracker

air quality alert new york canada wildfire


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