Binghamton Area Smothered by Toxic Smoke From Quebec Wildfires
Smoke generated by raging wildfires in Canada continues to pour into New York, Pennsylvania and the rest of the northeastern United States.
New York state officials said an air quality alert was in effect Tuesday for the region. An alert also is expected to be issued for Wednesday.
The Air Quality Index in Broome County at 3 p.m. Tuesday was reported to be 169 which is considered to be an unhealthy level for virtually everyone. A typical Binghamton-area reading for this time of year would be around 44.
Jake Chalupsky, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Binghamton office, said lighting from thunderstorms last Friday and Saturday sparked wildfires in central Quebec.
The smoke reaching the Binghamton area is from fires 400 to 500 miles away. Wind patterns have been blowing the acrid smoke directly into the region.
Chalupsky said conditions in the region may be even worse Wednesday morning and afternoon.
Broome County officials postponed a concert that had been planned for Otsiningo Park Tuesday evening.
Waterfronts at all county park were closed until further notice but parks were otherwise open.
The county emergency services center was much busier than usual because of calls from people with medical issues likely related to the smoky conditions. The center also received many 911 calls from residents reporting "smoke conditions."
Several people walking around downtown Binghamton Tuesday were wearing masks in an effort to provide some protection from the smoke.
Health officials said people with heart or breathing problems should avoid outdoor activity until the air quality improves.