One million N95 masks available to New Yorkers as effects of Canadian wildfires continue to impact air quality

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New York Construction Report staff writer

About one million N95-style masks will be made available to New Yorkers as smoke and haze from ongoing Canadian wildfires impact air quality across the state. The State Departments of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health continue to issue air quality warnings.

“Every part of New York State has experienced unhealthy air quality in the last 24 hours as a result of Canadian wildfires, and our number one priority right now is keeping New Yorkers safe,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Prolonged exposure to this harmful air will cause negative health impacts, which is why we’re making high-quality masks available at high-traffic areas across New York.

“I am encouraging everyone in impacted regions across the state to stay indoors and reduce your exposure to this harmful smoke until air quality improves.”

Masks will be made available at the following locations:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Penn Station
  • Fulton Center
  • Jamaica Station
  • Main Concourse of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, South Wing
  • Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, Harlem
  • Roberto Clemente State Park, Bronx

“With smoke from the Canadian wildfires blanketing our state, we are particularly concerned about the New Yorkers who are most vulnerable to negative health impacts from unhealthy air quality. These include everyone with heart conditions or lung disease, as well as the very young, those over 65 years old, and pregnant people,” said acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “The best way for vulnerable individuals to protect themselves is to stay inside, reduce exposure and minimize exertion when outdoors.

“If you must go outdoors, please use a high quality, well-fitting mask while these unhealthy conditions persist. And, for the areas where the air quality is designated as Hazardous, than that recommendation applies to everyone.”

The Governor also encouraged New Yorkers to postpone any outdoor activities in impacted regions until conditions improve. DEC and DOH experts continue to monitor air quality, watching smoke and weather patterns closely.

“New Yorkers should do what they can to stay safe over the coming days as reduced air quality continues to pose harmful health impacts. We are making high-quality masks available throughout the state and recommend everyone limit their outdoor activities to reduce exposure,” said Jackie Bray, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services commissioner.

An updated fire danger map is available on the DEC website. While the statewide burn ban is no longer in effect, brush burning should only be done when absolutely necessary. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round in New York State.

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