Wildfires Blaze Across America – Smoke Fills the Sky
The wildfires have been burning in the West and Northwest for nearly the entire spring and summer seasons. The 2015 season has seen nearly 7.5 million acres burned in the United States, which is the second most since 2004, and with all the fires burning this year, smoke and poor air quality have been a major concern.
It isn’t just the Pacific Northwest that has suffered from smoky skies, nearly all of North American has seen and felt the effects of the massive wildfires in Canada and the Northwest.
Places far downwind from the fires have witnessed hazy skies, red sunsets, and experienced poor air quality. The jet stream pattern is to blame for transporting large quantities of smoke and particulates eastward and southeastward over much of North America. The jet stream has often been located over the active fire zones and has carried the smoke to places like Chicago like St. Louis, which are at least 1000 miles from the fires.
This is expected to continue as long as the fires continue to burn and the jet stream flows over the active area. Those closer to the fire zones have suffered hazardous air quality conditions for much of the summer season. Much of the Northwest is under an air quality alert on Wednesday for the high levels of smoke and particulates in the air. The only relief from these hazardous conditions would come when the fires are finally contained, but, with so many still actively burning, that may not happen any time soon.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Jason Cerjak
(Headline image: Army National Guard)