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Air Quality Health Advisory in effect for New York City, Long Island and surrounding areas through Wednesday due to wildfires in Canada

Smoky haze from Canada wildfires comes to New York City area
Smoky haze from Canada wildfires comes to New York City area 02:13

NEW YORK -- An Air Quality Health Advisory is in effect in New York City until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials said it's because smoke from more than 400 wildfires in Canada is causing a haze in the air. They are urging children and adults who exercise to "reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors."

Mayor Eric Adams urged New Yorkers with heart or breathing issues to "limit your outdoor activities [Tuesday] to the absolute necessities." 

"When many New Yorkers walked outside today, the hazy skies caused by wildfire smoke were hard to miss," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "New York State experts are monitoring our air quality every day to ensure New Yorkers have the latest information about current air quality in their communities and what they can do to protect themselves. I encourage New Yorkers, especially those sensitive to air quality, to take appropriate steps to help limit risk of exposure."

As a haze filled the skies over Yankee Stadium, tourists on the West Side struggled to see the sights.

"We just got back from circling Ellis Island and couldn't see the Statue of Liberty as good as we could've, but I'd rather be here than where they're dealing with it directly," said Jeff Swboni of Cleveland.

One could barely make out the city skyline on Tuesday afternoon.

In the South Bronx, where asthma rates are among the highest in the country, people were seen donning face masks to protect themselves from smoky skies.

"This is terrible. This is terrible. I don't know what's going on, but they did say this is supposed to keep me safe," resident Jay Rich said of his mask.

Tiffany Lacen works at a nearby clinic.

"There have been complaints about people's asthma acting up, people's breathing not being right," Lacen said.

Doctors warn that there could be short-term health effects, including shortness of breath or pressure in the lungs.

"The small particulate matter, some of the trapped gases can be irritating to the lung. They can potentially be injurious. In the short term, they can cause bronchial spasms," said Dr. Michael Niederman, a pulmonologist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Sensitive groups should beware and limit their exposure to the outdoors.

"Exposure in patients surviving COVID is that the lungs, they weaken, and then maybe when they are exposed to this kind of pollution it is not going to be as easy as it was before the COVID-19," said Dr. Manuel Franco of SOMOS Community Care.

Doctors say the general public should be fine, but remain alert and keep windows closed.

For more information about the Air Quality Health Advisory, CLICK HERE.

To get the latest forecast, CLICK HERE

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