Wildfire smoke likely won’t impact Toronto’s air quality the way it did last summer: climatologist

Wildfire smoke likely won’t impact Toronto’s air quality the way it did last summer: climatologist

Toronto likely won’t see a repeat of last summer’s smoky conditions as rain has kept wildfires at bay in northern Ontario and eastern Canada, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada says.

“Last year we had a pretty foul summer in the Toronto area with 58 hours of smoke and haze,” Climatologist Dave Phillips told CP24 on Wednesday. “Some days the worst air quality in the world was found here in the GTA.”

While wildfire season started early in western Canada this year, the fires burning in those communities aren’t impacting air quality in the GTA. Phillips said last summer, fires in Nova Scotia, northern Ontario, and the Ottawa Valley caused smoke plumes to drift into the Toronto area, leading to poor air quality.

“This year, it has been very wet in that area. So I don’t see a repeat,” Phillips said.

Last summer, poor air quality from wildfires led to various event cancellations in the GTA and some school boards had to repeatedly move outdoor activities, including recess, indoors. Fire bans were also implemented in municipalities across the province.

On some days, air quality was so poor in Toronto that buildings were obscured by the haze.

“If the air quality is poor (this summer), it is from exhaust from automobiles and industry… not from forest fires,” Phillips concluded.

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