A pollution study revealed that wildfires in Canada have left Montreal engulfed in smog, resulting in the worst air quality among all major cities in the world. The most populous city in the province of Quebec experienced “unhealthy” air quality due to hundreds of forest fires burning across the country, according to IQAir, a global pollution monitor.
Environment Canada issued warnings to several regions of Quebec, indicating that high concentrations of fine particulate matter are affecting air quality and visibility. The agency urged residents to avoid outdoor activities and to wear masks if it was necessary to go outside.
As a result of the unhealthy smog, outdoor swimming pools and sports areas have been closed, and outdoor events, including concerts and sports competitions, have been canceled.
The situation has led to breathing difficulties, eye irritation, and a dense haze of smoke caused by wildfires. One 18-year-old resident, Fauve Lepage Vallee, lamented the cancellation of a festival she planned to attend due to the situation.
Quebec’s forest fire protection agency, SOPFEU, reported that there are currently 80 active forest fires in the province. Drought and high temperatures have contributed to the spread of the fires.
Despite the difficulties in fighting the fires due to dense smoke, “significant” rains are expected to arrive in the region on Monday or Tuesday. In addition, a contingent of 119 French firefighters is scheduled to arrive in Quebec to relieve their compatriots, who have been working on the ground since early June.
Across the country, the Canadian Forest Fire Center (CIFFC) has recorded more than 450 active fires, of which 240 are out of control. Canada is experiencing an unprecedented fire year, with more than 7.4 million hectares burned since the beginning of the year. The magnitude of the fires represents a significant challenge for authorities and response teams.