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Canada celebrates annual Clean Air Day, as fires continue to ravage northeastern US

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In an ironic twist, Canada recognized it’s annual Clean Air Day as wildfires continue to ravage Ontario and Quebec and pour smoky, yellow haze into the northeastern U.S. creating a dangerous air quality. 

Canada’s government took the unique situation to remind residents that, “air pollution knows no boundaries.”

Created in 1999, Clean Air Day is part of Canadian Environmental Week and was created to “recognize how important good air quality is to our health, our environment, and the economy.”

A fixed wing waterbomber drops water onto the Cameron Bluffs wildfire near Port Alberni, British Columbia, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Canada is on track to see its worst-ever wildfire season in recorded history if the rate of land burned continues at the same pace. (James MacDonald/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Canadian government cited a combination of “ongoing drought conditions and high temperatures forecasts” as the reason for the “higher-than-normal fire activity.” 

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “acknowledged the need to work together to address the devastating impacts of climate change,” according to Trudeau’s press office.

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Canadian officials say this is shaping up to be the country’s worst wildfire season ever. It started early on drier-than-usual ground and accelerated quickly. Smoke from the blazes has been lapping into the U.S. since last month but intensified with recent fires in Quebec, where about 100 were considered out of control Wednesday.

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Environment Canada’s air quality health index listed Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec as the worst in Canada, with a very high risk warning. They were followed closely by the eastern Ontario cities of Kingston, Cornwall and Belleville.

New York City on Wednesday, June 7 recorded its worst air quality in recorded history, per FOX Weather’s analysis of EPA historical data, affecting millions of people. 

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More than 400 blazes burning across Canada have left 20,000 people displaced. The U.S. has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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