Seeing, Smelling and Breathing in Smoky Skies Seeing, Smelling and Breathing in Smoky Skies

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Smoke particles from hundreds of wildfires in Quebec, Canada, have made their way down to Central New York.

A phenomenon that is no stranger to the state of California has come as a surprise to the Central New York region.

“To happen here in central New York?” local meteorologist Kate Thornton asked. “It’s crazy, it really does not happen here.”

When you step outside, you may have noticed a yellow-ish tint to the sky and a red sun up high.

But then, you’ll notice a smell, and not one from a campfire down the street. Instead, it’s coming from a place over 500 miles away.

Thornton said it’s something she has never seen before. 

“I don’t think anything like this has ever really happened here in central New York, or at least not in decades,” Thornton said.

The Air Quality Index, also known as AQI, measures the amount of pollutants in the air and it was at a “hazardous” level according to

But another local meteorologist remembers smelling something like it before, and did some research via the National Weather Service.

“It was… July of 2002,” Peter Hall said. “But the wildfires [then] were a little bit further north, so it wasn’t as intense. This is definitely stronger than what we had.”

Whether you’re in DeWitt, downtown Syracuse, on Syracuse University’s campus or anywhere in the state of New York, you’ll see the smoky haze, and more importantly, will be breathing it in.

Individuals have started to wear masks in order to take precautions.

Thornton sent her children to school with masks today, too.

“I have three young children ranging from 9 months to 7 years old,” Thornton said. “We sent my first grader off to school today with a mask. I [also] have a little itty bitty baby and we’re really just trying to keep it low key.”

Whether you choose to wear a mask outdoors, or choose to stay inside to evade the smoky haze, Thornton recommends that you check your phone’s weather apps to stay up to date on the air quality.

“Just reference your smartphone and use your favorite weather app, they will be able to keep you up to date on everything.”

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