The air quality index in Western New York hit 125 on Thursday morning, meaning it was considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children and people who are pregnant or have lung disease, asthma or heart disease. The air quality index reading in Central New York came in at 189, which is considered unhealthy for all groups.
“It is still appropriate for most people in the city to enjoy the outdoors today,” Jackie Bray, the commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Service, said at the news conference. “That’s not true upstate.”
Across Western New York, some people said they had been unaffected by the smoke, while others had changed their plans because of it.
Zackary Martin, 22, of Springville, N.Y., southeast of Buffalo, said he had opted not to go on a hike on his favorite trail because of the poor air quality. “It pretty much made me re-evaluate my plans for the whole week,” he said.
And at the food court of the Walden Galleria mall, in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga, Lakisha Tyson said that even though she and her two children, who are 16 and 7, did not have health conditions that affected their breathing, she had decided not to take them to the park.
“It’s not a good smell; it’s a toxic smell,” said Ms. Tyson, 39, of Rochester. “You have to wear a mask.”
Jesse McKinley, Lola Fadulu,Dan Bilefsky, Michael Wines, Lauren D’Avolio, Campbell Robertson, Carrie Blackmore Smith and Ida Lieszkovszky contributed reporting