Canadian wildfires cause major flight delays at New York airports

New York airports, including LaGuardia and Newark International, have experienced significant flight delays due to reduced visibility caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed travellers of potential two-hour delays, with 619 flight delays reported by 17:50 EST (22:50 BST) at New York City airports, according to Flight Aware. The air travel disruptions have also impacted airports from Atlanta to Houston, while Toronto Pearson International Airport faced 108 flight delays.

As a result of over 400 wildfires burning across Canada, smoke has engulfed the eastern part of the country and the East Coast, leading to air quality alerts for millions of people in both Canada and the US. Health officials have issued warnings about potentially dangerous air quality and pollution levels.

Canadian firefighters are currently battling more than 150 fires in Quebec alone, but the province’s premier, Francois Legault, stated that there are only enough firefighters to tackle 40 of the infernos. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed in a news conference that over 230 fires are out of control, causing more than 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. Trudeau praised the efforts of firefighters and first responders in these challenging situations.

If the fires continue at this rate, Canada could face its worst wildfire season on record, with approximately 3.8 million hectares (9.39 million acres) of land already burned. The White House has announced plans to send support to Canada to help battle the fires. The smoke from these wildfires has travelled south, covering New York City in a haze so dense that tourists struggled to see the iconic Statue of Liberty.

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Officials anticipate poor air quality and smoky haze to persist until Thursday evening in Toronto and much of Ontario. Air quality in New York is expected to remain “unhealthy” until Thursday, while Washington DC is also preparing for poor air levels as the smoke moves south. Experts have urged residents in areas affected by the smoke to take air quality warnings seriously, as low air quality can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as increased difficulty in breathing and stress on the lungs and heart.

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Chris Hollingsworth

Chris studied journalism in the US and worked there for a few years before moving to Thailand in 2021, just as he thought Covid was coming to an end - sadly more lockdowns ensued as he came out of his 14 days of isolation! He now combines his passion for writing and journalism to cover US and global news for The Thaiger.

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