Smoke from the forest fires in the western United States and Canada shrouded the east coast metropolis of New York in a gray haze yesterday. The environmental agency of the state of New York issued a health alarm due to increased particulate matter pollution. The Canadian province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency because of the fires.
A representative from the New York City agency said it was not uncommon for smoke from fires in the west of the country to penetrate the region. However, this time he is in a lower layer of air. The weather service today predicted a cold front that should put an end to the phenomenon.
“We have reached a critical point”
Huge forest fires are raging again in the western United States. In the state of Oregon alone, a fire has so far destroyed more than 137,000 hectares of forest. Countless fires are also blazing in other states along the US west coast and in Canada.
In the western Canadian province of British Columbia, an emergency has been in effect since yesterday because of the fires – it allows the authorities to order mass evacuations and to set up protective facilities for the people who have been brought to safety. “We have reached a critical point,” warned Provincial Public Security Secretary Mike Farnworth.
Appeals to prepare for evacuation
Authorities ordered another 5,700 people to leave their homes. Tens of thousands more were called upon to prepare for possible similar orders. “Please prepare an evacuation plan for your family,” appealed to fire chief Cliff Chapman to the people.
A total of around 300 forest fires are raging in the province, and more than 3,000 firefighters are working against the flames. The authorities expect the situation to worsen in the coming days – according to the weather forecasts, it should remain hot and dry. According to Chapman, around 3,000 square kilometers of land have already been burned – an area roughly three times the size of what is usual at this time of the year.
According to scientists, global warming is increasing the drought in the region, creating the conditions for forest fires to spread.