Exacerbating the situation is an area of high pressure off the East Coast, which will anchor the smoke in place until at least Friday, when a cold front is expected to move in.
As of Thursday afternoon, 16 wildfires are burning in the province, according to officials in Nova Scotia. They said out-of-control fire has burned more than 45,000 acres, and there are no signs that the blaze will be extinguished anytime soon as thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.
In addition, hundreds of homes and other buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the flames.
Canadian wildfire smoke enters the Northeast, mid-Atlantic
Smoke from the wildfires made its way southwest across the water, through Cape Cod, Massachusetts and across parts of New England and the Northeast on Tuesday, with the National Weather Service in Boston reporting that people across the region have been noticing a burning smell in the air.
The smoke is expected to begin to dissipate by Friday, with some lingering smoke expected to fill the air across southeastern Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.
Air Quality Alerts in effect in the Northeast
Air Quality Alerts have been issued for millions of Americans along the East Coast as of Thursday afternoon.
The North Shore of Massachusetts, including Boston, is under an Air Quality Alert until at least 11 p.m. Thursday.
Air Quality Alerts also stretch across central and southern Connecticut into New York City, most of New Jersey and all of Delaware.
What are the current air quality levels in the Northeast?
A lot of New England and the Northeast are reporting moderate air quality levels. However, areas of Delaware and Pennsylvania is reporting unhealthy air quality levels.
A record amount of smoke from Canadian wildfires in May
While the wildfires are burning in eastern Canada, large-scale wildfires have also been burning across the western portion of the country over the past few weeks.
The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories have seen wildfire activity since the beginning of May, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service in Europe.
Combined with more recent wildfire activity in areas such as Nova Scotia, CAMS stated that the wildfires have produced a record amount of smoke emissions for the month of May, breaking records in British Colombia, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia.
One of the more stark examples involves the province of Saskatchewan. CAMS said the previous record for wildfire smoke emissions for May in Saskatchewan was 2 Megatonnes, while emissions for May 2023 catapulted to 23 Megatonnes.
Officials warned about the implications of summer heat on the horizon as the wildfires continue to burn.
"As the Northern Hemisphere is approaching summer, it is expected that the variables related to increasing wildfire risk will be exacerbated, such as high temperatures and especially drier conditions," said Mark Parrington, senior scientist with CAMS.
"Monitoring these variables, and the development of wildfires, is crucial to understanding the underlying causes and impacts on the atmosphere in order to take proper action," he added.