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Montreal's air quality in 2023 worst in eight years due to historic forest fires

The skyline of Montreal is obscured by a haze of smog, Sunday, June 25, 2023, as a smog warning is in effect for Montreal and multiple regions of the province due to forest fires. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press) The skyline of Montreal is obscured by a haze of smog, Sunday, June 25, 2023, as a smog warning is in effect for Montreal and multiple regions of the province due to forest fires. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press)
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The air in Montreal last year was the most polluted it has been since 2015, thanks to Quebec's historic forest fire season.

The city's annual air quality report, published this week, shows fine particle pollution spiked in 2023 to its highest level in eight years.

Air quality in Montreal improved between 2014 and 2016, partly because many coal-fired thermal power stations closed in the United States.

The city experienced its worst smog days ever recorded on June 25-26 last year because of heavy smoke from the forest fires that by the end the season burned more than 4.3 million hectares in the province, the most on record.

At the time, Montreal had the worst air quality in the world.

The report also shows that air pollution from residential wood heating dropped nearly 40 per cent between 2014 and 2023, as a result of a 2015 bylaw banning some wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.

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