Fires in Canada, cloud of smoke over Ottawa, Toronto and New York

Orange. This is what the sky looks like over Ottawa, the capital of Canada, invaded by the smoke of the “Donnie Creek Fire”, the fire that has been devastating British Columbia and Quebec for weeks but also Ontario and Alberta, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. “Do not leave the house and wear respirators” is the invitation of the country’s authorities. The air quality is at alert level all along the East Coast, not only in Canada but also in the United States. Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued warnings in several states, including New England, Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Minnesota. From Canada, a cloud of ash reached Manhattan: the gray blanket covered Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx, and the Statue of Liberty.

Over 150 active fires

The Canadian authorities report that, despite the efforts of the fire services, 152 fires remain active out of the 422 reported this year, with more than 226,000 hectares of land destroyed. The helicopters dropped fuel along a front of more than thirty kilometers which burned about ten thousand hectares to block the advance of the flames towards the south and thus control its direction. The most serious alarm concerns Ottawa, where the government has said that the bad air quality currently presents a “very high risk” for people’s health. Even in New York the air quality index has exceeded 150, a limit that indicates an unhealthy level of pollution for the most sensitive groups such as the elderly, children and those with respiratory problems.