Wildfire Smoke Spreads into the Northern U.S.

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15 May 2024 1:45 AM

Wildfire smoke from Canada reached down and over parts of the Northern U.S. Plains thanks to northwesterly flow. A series of upper-level low-pressure systems will keep smoke in our skies over the next few days. As a result, moderate to unhealthy air quality conditions are anticipated. If you are sensitive to smoke or have underlying health conditions, please stay indoors and consider wearing a mask (like an N-95) to protect yourself from the particulates.

Smoke stays stagnant through Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota through Thursday. A few showers may temporarily relieve smoky air conditions, but expect to see haze in the skies. The smoke isn't nearly as thick as earlier in the week in the High Plains, thankfully, but it still could cause impacts to those who are sensitive.

Most of the wildfire smoke comes from British Columbia and Canada's Northwest Territories. These are the same provinces and territories that had an active fire season in May and June of 2023. Multiple evacuation orders are in effect for communities in British Columbia as fires advance. Canadian wildfire season runs from May through September with the most active months in June and July. This year we have already seen over half a million acres burned. 42 fires are burning "out of control" meaning there is no containment.

2023 was one of the most active seasons on record with thick smoke pouring into the northern U.S. and turning the skies over NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia an eerie orange. Thankfully we aren't seeing that widespread fire activity in Canada to constitute thick smoke to impact air quality to the same level.

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