More than 100 wildfires are currently burning in Quebec, deteriorating air quality conditions across New York state.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that smoke and haze will provide New Yorkers with approximately one million high-quality N95-style masks as the ongoing Canadian wildfires continue to impact air quality across the state. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Health continue to issue air quality warnings. Based on recent forecasts and advisories, as of today, the air quality index is expected to be unhealthy for most of the state, except for the northern regions.

“With every location in New York State experiencing unhealthy air quality in the past 24 hours due to the wildfires in Canada, our priority now is keeping New Yorkers safe,” Governor Hochul said. “Prolonged exposure to this harmful air can have negative health effects, which is why we are providing high-quality masks in high-traffic areas of New York. I encourage everyone in affected areas across the state to stay indoors and reduce your exposure to this noxious fume until air quality improves.”

Masks will be provided at the following locations:

  • central Station

  • penn station

  • fulton center

  • Jamaica Station

  • Main lobby of Port Authority Bus Terminal, South Wing

  • Danny Farrell Banks State Park, Harlem

  • Roberto Clemente State Park, Bronx

Earlier today, Governor Hochul recommended that outdoor school activities be suspended as air quality remains a concern. The governor also encouraged New Yorkers to postpone any outdoor activities in affected areas until conditions improve. DEC and DOH experts continue to monitor air quality, keeping an eye on smoke and weather patterns.

DHS and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “As degraded air quality continues to have harmful health effects, New Yorkers should do everything in their power to stay safe in the coming days. We are making high-quality masks available across the state and recommending that everyone limit outdoor activities to reduce exposure.”

Environmental Protection Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “As the state is impacted by Canadian wildfire smoke, New York experts have been monitoring air quality, and DEC has worked with our state partners to keep the public informed. I applaud Governor Hochul for continuing to provide resources to help address potential hazardous exposures air quality and encourage New Yorkers to take precautions during this continued dry weather to prevent any additional fire danger in their homes.”

Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “As smoke from wildfires in Canada blankets our state, we are especially concerned for New Yorkers who are most vulnerable to the negative health impacts of unhealthy air quality. This includes everyone with heart or lung disease, as well as the very young, people over 65, and pregnant women. The best way for vulnerable people to protect themselves is to stay indoors, reduce exposure and minimize outdoor activities. If you must go outside, use a quality, well-fitting mask while these unhealthy conditions persist. And, for areas where the air quality is designated as hazardous, the advice applies to everyone. “

MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said, “I thank Governor Hochul for his leadership. During this air quality incident, many New Yorkers may choose to go to an air-conditioned office and they can trust that MTA trains and buses will continue to operate with air filtration.”

Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said, “The health and safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to everyone at Port Authority, especially as air quality continues to deteriorate across our region. In response to Governor Hochul’s request, we will be distributing As many masks as possible are at the Port Authority bus terminal. We thank Governor Hochul and her team for their commitment to public safety.”

Exposure to current air quality conditions can have negative health effects, including:

  • irritation of eyes, nose or throat

  • cough

  • sneeze

  • runny nose

  • Shortness of breath

These conditions are especially dangerous for vulnerable New Yorkers with medical conditions such as asthma and/or heart disease.

DEC and DOH issue air quality health advisories when DEC meteorologists predict pollution levels, ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. Today’s advisory is due to wind-borne fine particulate matter from wildfires. The AQI was created as a simple way to relate levels of different pollutants onto a scale, with higher AQI values ​​indicating greater health problems.

View the latest AQI forecast here.

Tips for New Yorkers to Stay Safe

  • limit time outdoors to reduce exposure to smoke

  • closing windows of houses and buildings

  • avoid strenuous activity

    • Outdoor activities for all groups should be limited or minimized as much as possible, as those with asthma, allergies or other medical conditions may be affected.

  • avoid prolonged exposure

    • People with health weaknesses such as cardiovascular or lung diseases, pregnant women should also

  • For those who must travel outdoors for extended periods of time, a well-fitting, high-quality mask can help reduce exposure.

Updated fire hazard maps are available at december website. While the statewide burn ban is no longer in effect, bush burning should only be done when absolutely necessary. Burning trash or leaves is prohibited year-round in New York State.

More Information about fire safety and preventionto go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York web page.

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