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TENS of millions of people in North America woke up to warnings of dangerous air quality levels today as intense wildfires continued to blaze through Canada.
The intense Canadian wildfires are blanketing the north-eastern United States, including New York City, and parts of eastern Canada, with the haze turning the sky yellow and prompting warnings for vulnerable people to stay inside.
Environment Canada issued its strongest air quality warning for Ottawa on Tuesday, calling it a “very high risk” to health.
The US Environmental Protection Agency classified the air quality in much of the north-east as “unhealthy,” especially for people with respiratory issues.
Air quality levels in the Washington DC area were labelled “code red” this morning.
The Atikamekw community of Opitciwan, 217 miles north of Montreal, were forced to transfer people with asthma and other respiratory issues away from the smoke.
Evacuations from northern Quebec’s largest town continued today as firefighters worked to beat back threats from out-of-control blazes in remote communities in the Canadian province.
Some 160 fires are burning in Quebec, with more than 110 deemed out of control, as officials have warned that the country is preparing itself for the worst wildfire season on record.
Major fires have also been burning in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.
Experts have said that a warmer and drier spring that usual was the reason behind the increased flames, and the conditions are projected to continue throughout the summer as rain is not expected.
Wildfires happen naturally in many parts of the world but as global temperatures continue to increase, some regions have seen an increase in the areas burnt.
Scientists warn that climate change is making the weather conditions needed for wildfires more likely.
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