FAA Pauses New York Bound Flights As Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Continues To Disrupt U.S. Travel

Updated at 8:25 am EDT

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it has halted some flights that were bound for New York’s LaGuardia airport, with similar steps likely needed for other terminals along the Atlantic coast, as smoke from the ongoing Canadian wildfires continues to affect air quality in the northeast United States.

The FAA issued a ground delay for LaGuardia airport, indicating delays of up to an hour, and said flights from the Northeast, Ohio and the Mid-Atlantic region have been ‘paused’ as result of poor visibility linked to the fires.  

The administration also issued a ground stop order for Philadelphia International airport due to low visibility. 

“Reduced visibility from wildfire smoke will continue to impact air travel today,” the FAA said. “We will likely need to take steps to manage the flow of traffic safely into New York City, DC, Philadelphia and Charlotte.”

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President Joe Biden has offered further U.S. support to the Canadian government as it battles scores of raging forest fires that have brought damaging levels of smoke to several major American cities over the past few days.

Biden, who has spoken directly with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has directed officials to add to the 600 firefighters now working north of the border to assist in controlling the various outbreaks in what is now the country’s worst-ever wildfire season.

Canada’s Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said yesterday that around 3.8 hectares, or just under 9.5 million acres, of Canadian land has been burned, a pace that’s more than 15 times the ten year average. 

New York City, meanwhile, will continue to curtail some official activities Thursday as the National Weather Service said wildfire smoke “moving southward out of Canada and over the northern part of the country has triggered Air Quality Alerts over parts of the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.”

New York’s air quality rate was deemed the worst on the planet yesterday as the city’s skies turned orange and haze hung over the five boroughs for hours, forcing the cancellation of schools, outdoor events and a Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox

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