That Smoky Air from the Wharton Forest Fire is as Unhealthy as It Looks


By now you’ve probably heard: that smoky smell you may have encountered in the city today is from New Jersey. Specifically, from a brush fire in Wharton State Forest.

Of course you may not have noticed the scent at all. New York City is a cauldron of weird and strong and ever-changing smells, and our nostrils gave up caring within three to four months of moving here.

But this smell is at least mildly more unhealthy than the rest of the vile fumes we inhale on a daily basis. At 11:45 a.m. the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality warning for the city.

Because of the elevated pollution levels, the New York State Department of Health recommends that folks “consider limiting strenuous outdoor activity.” This is extra important for people who might be sensitive to the effects, including children, the elderly, and people with asthma or other respiratory problems.

The advisory is in effect until 11 p.m.

Wharton State Forest is about 90 miles south of Manhattan. The fire started on Sunday afternoon and spread over around 1,500 acres, according to Newsday. By early Monday morning, firefighters had the blaze contained. No injuries reported.