Smoke from the wildfires engulfing the U.S. West and Canada is carrying harmful air pollution as it reaches East Coast cities including New York and Washington, D.C., this week.
Our thought bubble: Due to the presence of small particulate matter, wildfire smoke can be hazardous to human health, even many, many miles downwind. The fires are also a source of carbon dioxide emissions, thereby acting to worsen global warming.
By the numbers: Smoke from the fires blanketed New York City sending its air quality index to an 170 before dropping to a still-unhealthy 158 on Tuesday — second only to the AQI of 174 in Krasnoyarks, Russia.
Context: The wildfires, many of which started when a severe heat wave erupted in June, have been linked by scientists to human-caused climate change.
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