In Brief

New Jerseyans should continue to stay inside as air quality remains unhealthy, Governor Murphy says

By: - June 8, 2023 11:15 am

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 8: The One World Trade Center and the New York skyline is seen in the background as a man jogs through the Liberty State Park while the smoke from Canada wildfires covers the Manhattan borough on June 8, 2023 in New Jersey. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

New Jerseyans should remain inside with their windows and doors closed, and if they must be outside, they should take frequent breaks and wear a close-fitting mask, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday as the smoke from wildfires in Canada continued to create unhealthy conditions across the region.

Murphy, speaking during a press conference in Newark, said Canadian officials told him Wednesday that more than 200 fires were burning in our neighbor to the north, and 170 of them were “out of control.” The fires encompass 10 million acres and could increase to 12 million acres, Murphy said he was told.

The governor again used the wildfires — which on Wednesday evening created hazardous air conditions— to advocate for policies that would limit the effects of climate change.

“If anybody has any doubts, this past couple of days and what we’re going to be dealing with for the next few, climate change is here, and unfortunately, this is our new reality,” he said. “That disturbing orange haze in the sky, that smell of smoke and that burning in our throats — those are clear warning signs that the status quo cannot continue, and it only hardens our resolve to aggressively pursue the bold action our climate reality demands.”

A map of New Jersey showing where air quality is unhealthy (red) and very unhealthy (purple) as of 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8.

Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with underlying diseases like asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis are most at risk as air quality worsens, said state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

“Children are particularly at risk from exposure to wildfire smoke and poor-quality air quality. This is because they breathe more air relative to their size and are more active than most adults,” Persichilli said.

Air conditions led nearly two dozen school districts in New Jersey to announce closures or early dismissals for Thursday, including the state’s largest district, Newark, which canceled classes Thursday. State offices closed early Wednesday and opened late Thursday.

As of Thursday morning, air quality in New Jersey was deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency to be either unhealthy or very unhealthy.


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Terrence T. McDonald
Terrence T. McDonald

Editor Terrence T. McDonald is a native New Jerseyan who has worked for newspapers in the Garden State for more than 15 years. He has covered everything from Trenton politics to the smallest of municipal squabbles, exposing public corruption and general malfeasance at every level of government. Terrence won 23 New Jersey Press Association awards and two Tim O’Brien Awards for Investigative Journalism using the Open Public Records Act from the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. One politician forced to resign in disgrace because of Terrence’s reporting called him a "political poison pen journalist.”