By Carol Tannenhauser
A new wave of smoke from wildfires burning in Canada is expected to reach New York City on Thursday, said Gov. Kathy Hochul at a press conference on Tuesday. “We’re anticipating the smoke and haze to come all across the state,” Hochul said. “By Thursday, you’re going to see the smoke affecting New Yorkers here in the city as well.”
As of Wednesday morning, June 28, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Protection, the air quality index (AQI) in the city was 55, which is considerated “moderate.” A score of 50 or below is considered “good” air quality.
During the last bout of smoke in early June, the AQI in New York City reached 218, making it temporarily the worst major city in the world in terms of air pollution.
To check your location’s current air quality, go to www.airnow.gov.
We will continue to report the latest developments. Meanwhile, the New York State Department of Health released the following recommendations:
- When AQI is greater than 100 (‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’), New Yorkers in vulnerable groups should avoid exertion outdoors and watch for symptoms when exposed to the outdoors. Vulnerable individuals include those with cardiovascular disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, history of prior heart attack) or lung disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as children under 18, adults 65 and older, and pregnant people.
- When AQI is greater than 150 (‘Unhealthy’), all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and those in vulnerable groups should avoid exposure to the outdoors, especially pregnant individuals who may become short of breath more easily. In addition, some employees who are vulnerable should work indoors and camp directors should know their local AQI forecast and alert level and follow AQI guidance.
- When AQI is greater than 200 (‘Very Unhealthy’), vulnerable groups should avoid all physical activity outdoors, and reschedule or move activities indoors. All others should avoid long or intense outdoor activities.
- When AQI is greater than 300 (‘Hazardous’), all New Yorkers should avoid outdoor physical activities.
- For people who spend time outdoors, when air quality is unhealthy, wearing a well-fitting face mask is recommended. A N95 or KN95 will work best.
Update, 6/28, 4:15 p.m.: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for New York City from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM on Thursday, June 29. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory problems, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors, according to Notify NYC, New York City’s official source for emergency information. Go to the website to sign up for alerts.