PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — It was another day of hazy skies and poor air quality due to the drifting smoke from more than 160 forest fires burning right now in Canada.
The smell was so strong that emergency responders in Montgomery County had an influx of 911 calls Tuesday night.
“Based on reports from the US National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly, the cause is believed to be smoke moving into our area from wildfires in Canada,” said Montco emergency officials. “Residents are urged to use their best judgment when deciding to call 9-1-1 to report conditions such as those described above.”
An air quality alert is in effect for several counties in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey due to the wildfires.
According to our 6abc Data Journalism team, Tuesday’s air quality index reached 110, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
That number is up significantly from Monday’s recorded 40 AQI. On Wednesday, the air quality index goes back down to more normal levels.
The Philadelphia Health Department declared a Code Orange Fine Particle Action Day for Wednesday. The Health Department recommends doing the following to protect yourself and your family from poor air quality:
Officials say the air may be hazardous for all residents, but is especially hazardous for sensitive groups, including children, elderly people, people who are pregnant, and those with respiratory diseases or heart conditions.
Meanwhile, crews in South Jersey are battling a wildfire in Jackson Township Tuesday night.
The blaze broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the area of East Commodore Boulevard and Cedar Swamp Road in Jackson Township. It has not been contained at this time.
And just last week, two fires broke out in Burlington County, scorching hundreds of acres of forest land, forcing people to flee from their homes.
The cause of all three fires remains under investigation.
Quebec orders more evacuations
Northern Quebec’s largest town was being evacuated on Tuesday as firefighters worked to beat back threats from out-of-control blazes in remote communities in the northern and northwestern parts of the province.
According to the province’s forest fire prevention agency, more than 150 forest fires were burning in the province on Tuesday, including more than 110 deemed out of control. The intense Canadian wildfires are blanketing the northeastern U.S. and parts of Eastern Canada in a haze, turning the air acrid, the sky yellowish gray and prompting warnings for vulnerable populations to stay inside.
Late Tuesday, authorities issued an evacuation order for Chibougamau, Quebec, a town of about 7,500 in the remote region of the province. Authorities said the evacuation was underway and promised more details Wednesday.