- Associated Press - Monday, April 7, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say smoke from a brush fire in southern New Jersey could make breathing a chore for people in the New York metropolitan area, some 90 miles away.

The Environmental Protection Agency declared Monday an air quality action day. It advised people to limit outdoor activities and reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

The EPA says fine particles in the air are unhealthy for sensitive groups including children, the elderly and people with heart or lung disease.

The smoky air put New York City and parts of New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley in the fourth-most severe category on the EPA’s six-step air-quality scale.

It’s the first time this year New York City’s air quality index reached a level worse than “good” or “moderate.”

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