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The Consequences of Climate Change

Hazardous Wildfires Destroying Canada Creep into the U.S.

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

The smoke from the Canadian wildfires this year has unfortunately made its way to Florida.

Throughout Tuesday, Oct. 3, hazy skies appeared all around Florida. This was not because of rain clouds but instead smoke from the wildfires making its way from Canada. The smoke emerged due to a combination of a low pressure system surrounding Florida and a high pressure system surrounding the eastern United States. working together to push the smoke into Florida. Unhealthy air quality levels were reported in several cities including the Tampa Bay area,  Jacksonville, Orlando and more with an air quality of 157 in Tallahassee.

Although these air qualities and foggy skies are just now being seen in Florida, these are not new occurrences for Canada.

Typically, wildfire season starts in Canada around May and lasts till October, but this year they have started early, with over 2,600 fires destroying 13 million acres of forests. This is compared to nearly 140,000 fires affecting 140,000 acres around the same time last year, as reported by the New York Times this past June. The fires occurring in June have alarmingly covered more area in just over a month than all of the wildfires reported last year. The fires are usually influenced by dry and windy weather which introduces the perfect climate for these conditions. Additionally, they can be caused by lightning and unintentional human actions including campfires, vehicle malfunctions and burning of debris.

In early June, the smoke began making its way from Canada to New York and other surrounding states, with New York City being at the top of the world’s worst air pollution list from the wildfires.

The city was covered in foggy orange skies for several days as residents had to wear face masks and stay indoors. Several sporting events and musical productions were postponed for the safety of athletes, performers and the guests attending.

“This may be the first time we’ve experienced something like this of this magnitude,” New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams said. “Climate change is accelerating these conditions. We must continue to draw down emissions and improve air quality and build resiliency.”

New York City had been discussing the fires and urging residents to stay indoors for their health until the smoke cleared throughout June.

“I think the air pollution caused by the fires is a problem,” junior Kayla Iarossi said. “I think really the problem is gonna be with their [her grandparents] respiratory system and their lungs due to the fire and all of its outputs into the environment.”

As for the state of Florida now, the smoke has passed in many of Florida’s cities and the air quality has improved. 

“Well, it's important to realize how big the consequences of our actions have been on our earth,” senior Maria Boulos said. “Yes, the wildfires are in Canada, but it's so bad that it's reaching Florida, and I think that's really important to realize that it's just gonna keep getting worse unless we do something to stop it.”


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