Smoke from Canadian wildfires returns to the US, prompting authorities to issue air quality alerts
07/21/2023 // Zoey Sky // Views

The smoke coming from the Canadian wildfires has returned.

To date, almost 900 wildfires are still burning across Canada. The smoke that will affect the U.S. will be coming from the western areas of the country. The National Weather Service in the Philadelphia area reported that the Canadian wildfire smoke will start to return to the region later in July.

The authorities have already issued air quality alerts for several areas, including:

  • Central Tennessee
  • The Great Lakes
  • The Midwest
  • North Carolina
  • The Northeast

By early Monday, July 17, several cities were already reporting elevated readings of the Air Quality Index (AQI):

  • 158 in Buffalo
  • 155 in Chicago
  • 142 in Nashville

The AQI runs from 0 to 500. The higher the number, the greater the level of air pollution.

An A.Q.I. of 201 or more is considered very unhealthy. (Related: Global air pollution index calls Chicago’s air quality the WORST IN THE WORLD due to Canadian wildfire smoke.)

AirNow, a website run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that oversees air quality across the country, advised that unhealthy conditions are expected for upstate New York beginning July 17. Air quality health advisories were issued in the entire state of New York on the same day. In other parts of the state, conditions will reach "unhealthy for sensitive groups" status.

In June, the level of particulate matter in the air from wildfire smoke was so unhealthy that several cities in America set records.

On certain days, it was dangerous to breathe in areas like Minnesota, Indiana, sections of the Mid-Atlantic and throughout the South.

Visibility decreased to alarming degrees in several cities, including Cincinnati, New York and Toronto. In some areas, the smoke from the fires blanketed the sky in an eerie orange haze.

The smoke could be traced to wildfires burning in Quebec.

Canadian wildfires are "off the charts"

Canadian officials have cautioned that the country is about to face a "long, tough summer" of wildfires while the current season breaks previous records. The forecasts also predict even hotter temperatures in the coming days.

Federal data has revealed that over nine million hectares (22.2 million acres) of Canada had burned, breaking a 34-year record.

Michael Norton, director general of the Northern Forestry Center, Canadian Forest Service, said the number is off the charts, with at least three more months left in Canada's active wildfire season.

Previously, the worst fire season on record in Canada was in 1989, when 7.8 million hectares burned.

As of writing, more than 155,000 residents have been forced from their homes, the highest figure in 40 years. There are also more than 4,500 evacuees across Canada.

An estimated 3,800 provincial firefighters are on the ground, but the unseasonably warm temperatures across Canada have required what officials called an "unprecedented level of international support."

At least 1,800 personnel from 11 countries have arrived to help fight the fires, with fire crews from South Korea recently landing.

Since the fire season began, 3,258 firefighters from around the globe have lent a hand. The fires aren't just larger than usual, they are also "abnormally numerous."

Canada's 2023 wildfire season has seen 20 percent more fires than the decade average. Norton warned that the number is expected to go up within the next months.

Officials warned that wildfire smoke, which has covered major Canadian and U.S. cities, is a serious health risk.

Marie-Eve Heroux, manager of air quality assessment for Health Canada, explained that the very fine particles, especially those that are too small and invisible to the human eye that can get deep into the bloodstream and the lungs, are the ones that cause a lot of worry in terms of health risk.

She also advised that the smoke, which made Toronto's air some of the worst in the world last June, contains gases, particles and water vapor that can cause coughs, chest pains and shortness of breath when inhaled.

Learn more about the Canadian wildfires and how they're affecting America at

Watch the video below for more information about the strange smell in Canadian wildfire smoke.

This video is from the Justin Barclay channel on

More related stories:

Canadian wildfire smoke continues to affect air quality in US cities.

Ways to keep indoor air clean when there’s wildfire smoke in your area.

Canadian officials warn: Wildfire smoke spreading across North America could last all summer.

Sources include:

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