The fires have NOT subsided….
Chicagoans awoke on Wednesday morning to a second day of smoky air enveloping the city, obscuring the skyline and shrouding Lake Michigan in a whitish haze. The air quality remained unhealthy, and public health officials warned residents to take precautions before venturing outdoors.
In cities throughout the Midwest, smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to disrupt daily life. The Air Quality Index in Detroit spiked to 337, a measure that placed the city’s air in the “hazardous” category; Cleveland reached 272. Established by the Environmental Protection Agency, the index runs from 0 to 500; the higher the number, the greater the level of air pollution.
Chicagoans were largely spared severe effects from wildfires earlier this month, when dangerous smoke affected the Northeast and pockets of the Midwest for days on end. But they had no reprieve on Tuesday, when the authorities classified the air as unhealthy in the city and in other parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Mayor Brandon Johnson of Chicago warned residents — especially children, older people and those with heart or lung disease — to stay indoors if possible, or to wear masks if they had to be outside, to avoid the worst effects of the smoky air. City officials opened six community centers for people who did not have access to safe indoor spaces, and moved all park district camps and public school activities indoors.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said early Wednesday that air quality in the western and central parts of the state was already at unhealthy levels. The day before, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City urged people to take a mask if they leave home.
Nearly 500 active wildfires were burning in Canada early Wednesday, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, in one of the country’s worst wildfire seasons in decades. More than 250 of the fires were burning out of control, the agency said….