By: David Yang
Right now, Canada and the US are experiencing one of the worst air quality indexes in the world due to the smoke from Canadian wildfires. Thursday afternoon's MLB game in Pittsburgh was delayed by 45 minutes due to poor air quality.
Wildfires are common during this time of year when it is hot and dry, creating the perfect conditions for blazes, especially in Canada where trees are abundant. However, this season is one of Canada's worst wildfire seasons ever. The fire smoke is not staying only in Canada but spreading to several cities across North America. "This is part of a growing pattern of extreme weather events that we're seeing as a result of climate change," said Olivia Dalton, the deputy White House press secretary. Wildfires have burned a record 20 million acres across Canada so far this year, with no end in sight.
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, average global temperatures have risen at least 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) due to human activities and greenhouse gases. Rising temperatures are increasing the possibility of forest wildfires.
Air quality alerts were announced in 21 states in the US on Thursday afternoon. The northern and Midwest regions of the US are being infiltrated by the deadly smoke.
In Pittsburgh, the Air Quality Index climbed to 231 on Tuesday afternoon, forcing fans cheering for both the Pirates and the San Diego Padres to wait 45 minutes for the game to continue. "If you don't have to go outside, please stay indoors because the air quality is still very unhealthy," said Ed Gainey, the mayor of Pittsburgh.
New York will start rolling out phone alerts to remind residents to take care of their bodies and monitor their health closely. Governor Kathy Hochul said on Thursday, "The air quality is still in the 'unhealthy' category. The truth is, there is no end in sight." Hochul said at a news conference, "This type of warning is very different from the normal New York."