Millions of people across North America are being advised to wear N95 masks outdoors due to the deteriorating air quality caused by the intense wildfires raging in Canada.
The situation has prompted various measures to protect public health and mitigate the impact of the smoke-filled atmosphere.
New York is taking action by distributing free masks starting Thursday to help residents cope with the hazardous air conditions.
The Canadian government has also urged people to wear masks if staying indoors is not feasible.
Officials warn that the dangerously smoky conditions are expected to persist throughout the weekend, affecting large areas.
The majority of the smoke is originating from Quebec, where a staggering 150 fires continue to burn.
This unprecedented wildfire activity has already forced more than 15,000 residents to evacuate, making it Quebec's worst fire season on record.
The severity of the situation has prompted urgent responses from neighbouring regions.
Environment Canada, the country's environmental agency, has issued warnings indicating the worsening air quality in Toronto as smoke continues to pour in.
In a special weather bulletin, the agency recommended that anyone outdoors should wear a mask to minimize exposure.
However, it is important to note that while masks can help reduce exposure to fine particles in wildfire smoke, they do not provide protection against the gases present in the smoke.
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