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    Air Quality Alert: Wildfire smoke from Canada invades New York, Tri-State area again

    NEW YORK (WABC) — The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert on Tuesday for New York City and parts of the Tri-State due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires drifting across the region.

    In addition, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for parts of New Jersey.

    Lightning from isolated thunderstorms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey could be a source of new wildfire ignition. Any fires that develop may quickly get out of control and become difficult to contain.

    RELATED: Interactive map of Air Quality from the EPA

    The smoke is making skies hazy and making for potentially dangerous conditions, especially for people with respiratory issues.

    RELATED | Interactive map to track air quality across the New York City region

    The air quality alert means air pollution concentration in the region will be unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, children and adults over 65.

    Dr. Jack Caravanos is an environmental health expert at NYU who studies environmental toxins and pollution. He says because of the Canadian wildfires, the air quality is three times worse than normal.

    “As time goes on, the air outside a building will ultimately equal the air outside, so for homes, restaurants, delicatessens, the air quality inside will pretty much match the air quality outside, especially as this thing goes on for a few days,” Caravanos said.

    The smoky skies are the result of more than 160 forest fires burning in Quebec during what federal officials say is shaping up to be among Canada’s worst fire seasons ever.

    With more than 480 wilderness firefighters on the ground, Quebec can fight around 30 fires, Quebec Premier Franois Legault told reporters Monday, adding that normally firefighters would come from other provinces to help.

    “When I talk to the premiers of other provinces, they have their hands full,” Legault told a briefing in Quebec City.

    On Friday afternoon there were 324 fires burning across Canada. As of Monday morning that had grown to 413, and by late afternoon, the total jumped again.

    Click here for the latest alerts from the NWS

    “The situation remains serious,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said. “The images that we have seen so far this season are some of the most severe we have we have ever witnessed in Canada and the current forecast for the next few months indicates the potential for continued higher-than-normal fire activity.”

    More than 160 fires have been reported in Quebec including at least 114 that are out of control. More than 173,000 hectares have burned this year in Quebec’s “intensive protection fire zone” – the area where normally all fires are actively fought – compared with a 10-year average of 247 hectares as of the same date, Quebec’s wildfire prevention agency, SOPFEU said.

    While there will be improvements on the way for the smoky skies from the Midwest to Northeast in the coming days, the wildfire situation in Canada continues to look dire so there will likely be more rounds of smoke in the coming weeks impacting parts of the U.S.

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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