The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Wednesday afternoon that smoke from Canadian wildfires has forced it to slow traffic to and from the Northeast.
There are ground delays at LaGuardia in New York, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, and Philadelphia International Airport. The three airports are all reporting low visibility.
The delays, which are up to two hours, are expected to last through much of Wednesday.
According to FlightAware, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled on Wednesday and 18,000 flights have been delayed.
It’s not just flights that are being affected by the poor air quality — other aspects of people’s daily lives are being interrupted as health officials advise people to stay inside.
Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for much of the East Coast, spanning from New Hampshire to South Carolina.
New York reported an air quality index of over 300, the highest in the world on Wednesday afternoon.
The plumes of smoke are traveling south from Canada, where officials say they are battling more than a dozen wildfire hotspots. They’ve also forced the evacuations of more than 20,000 people in the country.
The fires causing the most smoke in the Northeastern U.S. are in central Quebec.
President Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday. The White House said it had directed “all available federal firefighting assets that can rapidly assist in suppressing fires impacting Canadian and American communities.”
The White House said both leaders agreed to stay in close contact as emergency crews worked to battle the fires.