In an ironic twist, Canada recognized it’s annual Clean Air Day as wildfires continue to ravage Ontario and Quebec and pour smoky, yellow haze into the northeastern U.S. creating a dangerous air quality.
Canada’s government took the unique situation to remind residents that, “air pollution knows no boundaries.”
Created in 1999, Clean Air Day is part of Canadian Environmental Week and was created to “recognize how important good air quality is to our health, our environment, and the economy.”
The Canadian government cited a combination of “ongoing drought conditions and high temperatures forecasts” as the reason for the “higher-than-normal fire activity.”
Canadian officials say this is shaping up to be the country’s worst wildfire season ever. It started early on drier-than-usual ground and accelerated quickly. Smoke from the blazes has been lapping into the U.S. since last month but intensified with recent fires in Quebec, where about 100 were considered out of control Wednesday.
Environment Canada’s air quality health index listed Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec as the worst in Canada, with a very high risk warning. They were followed closely by the eastern Ontario cities of Kingston, Cornwall and Belleville.
More than 400 blazes burning across Canada have left 20,000 people displaced. The U.S. has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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