More than 2,000 flights were delayed and more than 100 canceled in New York and other northeast airports on Wednesday because of the smoke that is enveloping a big swath of the country. Huge wildfires in Quebec and a stubborn high-pressure system set up over the middle of the continent have resulted in some of the smokiest skies in memory from the Carolinas to Canada. A ground stop caused by the smoke was lifted mid-afternoon, but the damage was done and delays and cancellations rippled through the system. The smoke was also dense enough to halt VFR operations throughout the areas affected.
“The FAA has slowed traffic to and from the New York City area airports due to reduced visibility from wildfire smoke,” the FAA told CNN in a statement. “The agency will adjust the volume of traffic to account for the rapidly changing conditions.” The forecast is for the smoke to linger for several days although it will be variable. Air quality in the whole region has deteriorated to the point that those with health conditions are advised to stay indoors.