Smog caused by recent wildfires in Canada effectively brought the US capital to a standstill over the weekend, leading to the cancellation of a number of events, including the White House’s much-awaited Pride Month event which was expected to be the biggest LGBTQIA+ celebration at the nation’s seat of power.

Along with the cancellation of a home game for the Washington Nationals, city officials called off non-essential public services, including garbage collection and road work. Employees in both public and private firms were asked to work from home given the less than ideal levels of pollution outdoors.

Such smog has not been experienced in the northeastern United States for over two decades, but the recent wildfires have also been among the worst in Canadian history.

Millions of Americans have been advised to stay indoors if possible to avoid respiratory issues and other health problems that could arise due to the high levels of fine particulates in the atmosphere.

Relevant authorities have advised the public throughout the northeastern states and several Midwestern states to stay indoors to prevent a host of potential issues, including respiratory problems that would be caused or exacerbated by the wildfire smoke. 

Indeed, the National Weather Service noted that air quality readings in Washington DC went beyond hazardous as of Thursday, June 8th.

A Better Time in the Big Apple

Meanwhile, even as smog blanketed the capital, the skies over New York have begun to clear – a good sign, seeing how the Big Apple was heavily veiled with miasmic haze for the better part of the week, its pollution levels at par with that of the Indian city of Delhi.

However, despite improving pollution levels and clearer skies, the New York public school system has yet to bring children back to classrooms. As of Friday, June 9th, classes were shifted to remote learning.