Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Endangers Our Region

by Chris Bishop

First, we had the pandemic to keep us indoors and now we have dangerous smoke wafting down from wildfires in Canada making us head to the basement treadmills, ellipticals and cycling machines. The smoke was so intense on June 7 in NYC that skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty disappeared from view. In fact, NYC became the most polluted city on Earth replacing the normal winners in this dubious category like Delhi and Lahore.

The images were frightening to view and were proof positive that the situation was dangerous.

Click here for time lapse video of NYC disappearing into a smoky haze.

The poisonous air encompassing the East Coast had the following consequences.

  • The Wildlife Conservation Society, which oversees New York city’s zoos and aquariums, said that the facilities’ animals would remain indoors where possible. “At this time, no animals are showing adverse effects or having any issues related to the air quality,” the conservation society said.
  • On Wednesday, New York City briefly became one of the cities with the worst air on the planet, eclipsing some of the poorest nations that have suffered from pollution for decades. Air pollution was responsible for 6.67 million deaths worldwide in 2019, mostly in North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday morning that it would likely need to take steps to manage the flow of air traffic safely into New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Charlotte because of reduced visibility from wildfire smoke.
  • Outdoor sports events in NYC like baseball on Wednesday - including the Yankees versus the Chicago White Sox were cancelled along with theater productions in Central Park.
  • Fox News had a predictable but still amazing response and made light of the situation.

Jeanine Pirro, Jesse Watters and Sean Hannity all dismissed the city’s atrocious air quality — caused by wildfires in Canada — and mocked official advice to wear face masks amid the smoke that is expected to last for days.

“While Americans choke on the smoke, the far left smells an opportunity,” said “The Five” co-host Pirro, who turned the haze into an attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her signature Green New Deal.

Pace Setter Survey Question: With air quality being at a dangerous level because of fires in Canada, are you still training outside?

Lauren Scarupa

I decided not to train outside. With all of the air quality warnings, and especially with the running events that were cancelled during the week, I decided I would rather be safe than sorry.

Todd Shatynski

Keeping training inside for AQI >150 for sure.

Dave Glass

No, it's the treadmill for me. Doing a routine, I heard about it from Chuck Terry. Five minutes at a certain speed, then increase by one half mph and repeat.

Meghan Mortensen

Can’t answer that with a yes or no. I did run yesterday morning at 5 a.m. and didn’t have a problem and actually forgot about the smoke. Today I was scheduled to run the Route 50 mile tonight. If it’s still ok, I will run, if it’s not I will take the day off or train indoors. If I currently had a treadmill option, I would definitely use it.

Tom O’Grady

No, it’s not worth risking my health. I’ve been running on the treadmill inside.

Jeremy McNamara

Nope, cycling inside in the basement.

Carolann Koleci

Yes. I run every day outside. With the AQI as high as it is, I have had to alter my plans by either reducing intensity or volume. Unfortunately, no treadmill or gym membership. Concerned about everyone's safety, especially the construction crew and road workers, I have seen doing intensive labor these past few days. Let's hope the 'dust' will soon settle!

Aaron Major

No. A part of me thinks it would probably be fine, but I also figure missing a few runs is no big deal.

Janne Gilligan

Thankfully with just coincidental luck, I’m on a scheduled break this week so I haven’t run at all.

Kelly Virkler

No, I've used the treadmill, rower, and bike trainer in the basement.

Screenshot 2023-06-09 at 1.22.38 PM.pngKristen Hislop

No. Today was swimming and cycling inside. Long term health first. I’m sad Route 50 Mile was cancelled, but looking forward to the Freedom Mile. Register here -

Mat Nark

We're in a mellow point of our season where all runs happen to be optional this week. Athletes that do run this week will run either outside or inside depending on their personal preference. Any outdoor running will be scaled from both a volume and an intensity perspective to accommodate the poor air quality.

Athletes with compromised conditions are recommended to run indoors.

Mary Claire Falotico

No, I’m sticking to the treadmill. It is kicking up my asthma and is not worth the long-term damage to my lungs!

Ryan Cooper

Yes, I am. Nothing hard in terms of effort or long durations. If I lived in NYC this would be a different story.

Barbara Sorrell

I am. I wore a mask this morning.

Stephen Tinkler

Treadmill inside this morning

Benita Zahn

Nope!! Into the Y and/or stairs at work

Brina Seguine

I trained outside Tuesday but not yesterday. Not sure about today.

John Sestito

Yes, I am. It won’t stop me. I ran 10 miles outside last night!

Wudu Girma

Not bothered by the bad air quality.

Keith Beck

I have the past two days. I can’t stand long runs on a treadmill. I used two gaiters over my nose/mouth yesterday and didn’t have any issues.

Tom Gabriel

Yes, I’m not too concerned.

The U.S. EPA is providing a wonderful tool to monitor air quality easily any time night or day. It is easy to reach: and add to your bookmarks bar right next to your weather folder. You enter your zip code, and it will immediately display the air quality in your area. In addition, it has information that explains what the data means.

For example, this was the reading for Schenectady on the first day of the crisis and it was the same for Albany.

The chart below expalins what the numbers signify.

This was the chart for June 9, which would seem to indicate that the problem is clearing for the time being.

The smoky air that covered the Northeast is dissipating now and being blown down to the southern region of the United States. Massive assistance from the U.S. is being sent to Canada to help contain the wildfires there. Hopefully this will be successful or else we could have a summer that will be unforgetable but not in a way we would like.


Wildfire Smoke
Smoky Air Disrupts Life in the Northeast

What to know about the Canadian wildfires causing poor air quality in the U.S.

Millions breathing hazardous air as smoke from Canadian wildfires streams south over US

Graphics show how smoke from Canadian wildfires is turning US skies hazy – and hazardous

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