As intense wildfires continue to ravage parts of Canada, tens of millions of people in North America have awakened to hazardous air quality levels.
Smoke has engulfed significant areas of Ontario and Quebec, while an orange haze looms over much of the northeastern United States, persisting from Tuesday into Wednesday.
During the overnight period, Toronto and New York briefly ranked among the cities with the world’s poorest air quality.
The primary source of the smoke is Quebec, where 160 fires are currently burning.
Canadian officials have warned that the country is heading towards its most severe wildfire season on record, attributing the situation to an unusually warm and dry spring. These conditions are expected to persist throughout the summer.
On Tuesday, Environment Canada issued a critical air quality advisory for Ottawa, categorising it as a “very high risk” to public health. In Toronto and its surrounding areas, the air quality was deemed “high risk.”