Apocalyptic Skies Over New Jersey Caused By Canadian Wildfire Smoke

June 7, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Wildfire smoke continues to blanket the region causing unhealthy air and apocalyptic skies. Earlier this morning there was a light haze and by midafternoon heavier plumes of wildfire smoke drifting down from Canada decreased visability and created orange skies. Several schools reportedly held children indoors for recess and the New Jersey State Government closed early for the day due to the increasing smoke condition in the area. The public library in South Brunswick closed early due to the smoke.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has declared an Air Quality Action Day for Particulate Matter for Wednesday, June 7. Levels of fine particulates will rise into the unhealthy range for sensitive groups statewide today and potentially extend into the evening hours due to wildfire smoke transport from the Canadian wildfires. Governor Phil Murphy released the following statement in response to today’s air quality in New Jersey: 

“My team is in close coordination with the State Department of Environmental Protection as we vigilantly monitor the effects of the Canadian wildfires on air quality in our state. As conditions worsen statewide, I strongly urge all sensitive individuals – including those with heart or lung disease, the elderly, and the young – to stay safe and limit strenuous activities and the amount of time active outdoors today. Make no mistake, from the wildfires in Canada to those cropping up with increasing frequency and severity in our own backyard, these extreme weather events are tangible – and devastating – evidence of the intensifying climate crisis. As the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Fire Service works tirelessly to protect our residents and properties across the state, we will continue to do our own part by pursuing the bold action our climate reality demands.” — Govenor Phil Murphy

ALERT – Township Offices CLOSED Thursday Due to the Hazardous Air Quality

All South Brunswick Township Offices will be closed on Thursday due to the poor air quality from the smoke in our region. The National Weather Service anticipates the air quality will be very poor due to the smoke and haze from wildfires in Canada. It is recommended that you limit time and any exertion outdoors. 

CLOSED Thursday, June 8, 2023

  • Township Municipal Building
  • South Brunswick Municipal Court
  • South Brunswick Senior Center
  • South Brunswick Recreation Center’
  • South Brunswick Library

The South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the ongoing situation with our county and state partners. Preliminary indications are that weather conditions will improve on Friday which will allow the smoke to clear our area.

I-195 in Robbinsville/Hamilton area at dusk.

The New Jersey Turnpike in the area of Mile Post 63 in Robbinsville, NJ just north of Exit 7A

Hamilton Marketplace

Route 33 in Robbinsville tonight at dusk.

South Brunswick Police reported:

We continue to monitor the impact of the Canadian wildfires on our community. We anticipate the smoke to impact us for the next day. Here are some safety guidelines – 

  • Sensitive populations (which includes the elderly, infants and young children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or chronic bronchitis) should remain indoors
  • Individuals with asthma: Poor air quality may trigger asthma attacks. Individuals with respiratory diseases: Follow the physician’s recommendations and respiratory management plan.
  • People in general should avoid strenuous activities and limit the amount of time they are active outdoors.
  • The most effective way to prevent breathing harmful particles from wildfire smoke is to stay indoors with windows and doors closed.
  • If an air conditioner is available, run it while keeping the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
  • Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home.
  • Do not smoke tobacco or other products, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. /

Heavy smoke blankets New Jersey this afternoon and evening. Heavy smoke in the area of the New Jersey Turnpike at Exit 7A in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

Around 1:30 p.m., about the time these photos were taken McGuire Airforce Base – KWRI METAR (Meteorological Aerodrome Reports) data indicated 5-miles of visibility with broken clouds. An hour and half later the visibility dropped to below 3 miles visibility with haze. Visibility continues to decline as a heavy plume of smoke blankets the region.

At 4:00 p.m. the time of this report the McGuire Airforce Base was reporting 1.5 miles of visibility.

At 4:00 p.m. Trenton Mercer Airport KTTN METAR data is reporting 3/4-mile visibility with overcast skies.

At 4:00 p.m. KEWR Newark Liberty International Airport is reporting 1/2-mile visibility, smoke and haze.

At 4:00 p.m. KBLM Farmingdale Airport is reporting one mile visibility and haze.

At 4:00 p.m. KPHL Philidelphia International Airport reporting 2-mile visibility with smoke and haze.

Yesterday’s MidJersey.news story on the hazy, smoky skies:

National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ
349 PM EDT Wed Jun 7 2023

Coastal waters from Sandy Hook to Manasquan Inlet NJ out 20 nm-
Coastal waters from Manasquan Inlet to Little Egg Inlet NJ out
20 nm-
349 PM EDT Wed Jun 7 2023


* WHAT...Dense smoke will reduce visibility to 1 NM or less.

* WHERE...Coastal waters from Sandy Hook to Little Egg Inlet NJ
  out 20 nm.

* WHEN...Until 10 PM EDT this evening.

* IMPACTS...Low visibility will make navigation difficult.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The Air Quality Index for Wednesday for
  New Jersey is code level RED...which is unhealthy for sensitive
  groups...and means groups may experience health problems due to
  air pollution.


If you must navigate, proceed with caution. Use proper fog
signals. Make sure all running lights are on. Remember to use
your radar and compass.

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