Follow along for live updates on wildfires in Canada creating a haze in parts of the U.S. and Canada and into northern Europe:
What to know:
— Air pollution cloaks eastern U.S. for a second day. Here’s why there is so much smoke
— MLB, WNBA postpone games due to smoke from Canadian wildfires
— AP PHOTOS: From NYC’s skyline to Washington DC’s monuments, wildfire haze envelopes familiar sites
— How to stay healthy as smoke spreads from Canada wildfires
SPAIN, PORTUGAL, FRANCE SEND FIREFIGHTERS TO CANADA
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that Spain, Portugal and France are sending a total of 280 firefighters to Canada.
With smoke reaching Europe, the event is drawing attention from fire analysts as far afield as Spain. The Mediterranean country combats wildfires each summer and is bracing for a difficult summer amid a prolonged drought and record-hot spring.
Spain said Thursday that it would send 80 to 100 firefighters to Canada. Neighboring Portugal, which has a record of deadly fires as well, has pledged another 100 firefighters.
Wildfire analyst Jordi Pagès for the Barcelona-based Pau Costa Foundation, a global non-profit organization dedicated to wildfire awareness, said climate change is fostering weather conditions that favor wildfires at increasingly higher latitudes.
“In the last 10 years we have seen an increase on a global scale of the number of massive fires erupting simultaneously,” Pagès told The Associated Press by videoconference from his office in rural northeast Spain. “There is a fire campaign active in Canada right now, but also in Russia, with important fires in both areas."
AIR QUALITY STATEMENTS DROPPED IN OTTAWA
Environment Canada has dropped special air quality statements for Canada’s capital of Ottawa, but residents are still being encouraged to limit outdoor activities.
Air quality statements warning of high levels of pollution from forest fire smoke remain in effect in parts of six Canadian provinces. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reports more than half of the 440 fires burning in nine provinces and two territories are out of control.
One hundred and sixty-three of the fires are in Quebec.
FAA DELAYS SOME FLIGHTS AMID REDUCED VISIBILITY
The Federal Aviation Administration warned early Thursday that it would likely need to take steps to manage the flow of traffic into New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and Charlotte, North Carolina, due to reduced visibility from wildfire smoke. The FAA delayed all flights bound for Newark International Airport midmorning. Flights from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio bound for Philadelphia International were paused for about an hour due to low visibility.
POOR AIR QUALITY CLOSES ZOOS
Poor air quality forced zoos in several cities to close or reduce their hours Thursday.
At the National Zoo, a popular tourist attraction in Washington, D.C., officials said they were taking the action “for the safety of our animals, our staff and our guests.” The city’s Department of Energy and Environment said the air quality forecast for Thursday was in the purple, or very unhealthy, range.
All four of New York City’s zoos will be closed for the day so the animals can stay indoors. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the city’s zoos, said no animals were showing adverse effects.
The Toronto Zoo shortened its hours Thursday for the safety of the animals and its guests.
AIR QUALITY PROMPTS NYC ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING CANCELATION
Poor air quality prompted New York City officials to cancel alternate side parking, sparing car owners from having to go outside and move their vehicles from one side of the street to the other. All city-sponsored outdoor events were canceled and zoos were closed.
SMOKE FROM CANADIAN WILDFIRES FORECAST TO REACH NORWAY
Norwegian officials said the smoke from wildfires in Canada that has enveloped parts of the U.S. and Canada in a thick haze is expected to pour into Norway on Thursday.
Atmosphere and climate scientists with the Norwegian Climate and Environmental Research Institute used a forecast model to predict how the smoke would travel through the atmosphere.
The smoke has moved over Greenland and Iceland since June 1st, and observations in southern Norway have recorded increasing concentrations of aerosolized particles, the independent research institution said.