Canadian Wildfires Impact Air Quality, Disrupt Flights in U.S. Again

June 8, 2023

The U.S. government on Thursday was again warning of dangerous air quality, low visibility and hundreds of flight disruptions due to wildfires raging across Canada.

“Reduced visibility from wildfire smoke will continue to impact air travel….We will likely need to take steps to manage the flow of traffic safely into New York City, DC, Philadelphia and Charlotte,” the Federal Aviation Administration tweeted Wednesday evening.

On Thursday morning the FAA announced that flights from the Northeast, Ohio and Mid-Atlantic bound for New York City’s LaGuardia airport had been paused while departures at Philadelphia’s airport were grounded “due to low visibility.” Further, all flights bound for Newark Liberty Airport were delayed nationwide.

The flight disruptions come as the Environmental Protection Agency warned Thursday morning that wildfire smoke “is continuing to impact large portions of the Eastern United States today,” retweeting an alert from AirNow, which is tracking fire and smoke in North America.

There were more than 430 active wildfires raging across Canada as of Thursday morning. They started in late April in British Columbia and Alberta. So far, they have displaced more than 30,000 people, and they have shut down oil and gas production.

Some Canadian lawmakers are connecting the fires to climate change, including Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, who asserted, “Our weather is getting hotter and drier and this government isn’t ready for the danger that represents.”

At least one of the wildfires, in Quebec, has led to an arson investigation, though the cause for so many fires is yet to be determined.


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