Smoke from Canadian Wildfires Envelops New York

Yasushi Kaneko / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Smoke covers the sky over Times Square in New York around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

NEW YORK — Thick smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada covered New York City and other areas in the northeastern United States on Wednesday, causing severe air pollution.

The hazardous air conditions prompted schools in the areas to cancel outdoor activities and physical education classes.

In Times Square in Manhattan, hazy brown smoke covered the sky on Wednesday afternoon, and a burning smell wafted through the air. Cars were seen driving with their headlights on. Unusually many people were wearing masks.

City authorities urged people to refrain from going out. According to U.S. media reports, there were more than 400 wildfires in Canada as of Wednesday, of which more than half were out of control.