Smoke from enormous wildfires in the western United States and Canada is causing haze in Oak Ridge and across the eastern United States, and affecting air quality in many regions.
On Thursday, CBS News reported that there are wildfires burning in 13 states, and 83 large fires have burned close to 1.3 million acres. The largest fire, the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, was burning more than 476 square miles, an area about the size of Los Angeles and three times the size of Detroit.
Smoke from the wildfires is blowing into Canada and then south around the Great Lakes and east to the East Coast, according to a map posted by AirNow.gov and shared by the National Weather Service in Morristown.
The NWS said the smoke will continue to tint the sky with haze on Thursday as a high-pressure system brings sunshine, warmer temperatures, and dry weather.
Air quality in the region, based on small particulate matter, ranged from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups at about noon Thursday. Unhealthy for sensitive groups means people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children and teenagers should take steps to reduce their exposure.
The Washington Post reported that wildfire smoke from the western United States that is transported along the jet stream is not uncommon in the eastern United States, but it is more frequently seen later in the summer and the fall. Last year, it occurred in the Washington region in mid-September. Ordinarily, it’s not this thick and usually remains suspended at high altitudes, where it doesn’t affect air quality at the ground, The Washington Post said.
However, the newspaper reported, the smoke is closer to the surface this time because of a combination of the proximity of some of the fires in eastern Canada and the prevailing weather pattern, which features a zone of high pressure aloft that is causing the air to sink.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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