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Wildfires in Western Canada engulf 400 000 ha (1 million acres), impacting air quality across North America

Wildfires in Western Canada engulf 400 000 ha (1 million acres), impacting air quality across North America

Large wildfires have been raging across Western Canada over the past 2 weeks, burning close to 404 686 hectares (nearly 1 million acres). The fires have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents and have caused significant structural damage.

Large plumes of smoke produced by the fires have stretched from west to east across the North American continent, significantly impacting air quality in several areas. New York City experienced hazardous air quality levels on June 6, primarily due to smoke from these fires.

The east coast has been particularly affected, with smoke from fires in Nova Scotia and Quebec playing a significant role. Currently, the Quebec region is grappling with over 160 forest fires, further exacerbating the situation.

Air quality alerts have been issued in several other cities, including Baltimore, Boston, Raleigh, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. The smoke is also extending into the Ohio Valley, causing concerns for residents in the region.

Earlier in the month, states like Colorado, Montana, and parts of Idaho issued air quality warnings as a result of the wildfires in Western Canada. The smoke from the fires has been far-reaching, affecting air quality across large swaths of the United States.

Canadian authorities report that the total number of wildfires in the country is now well over 400, with no short-term forecast for improvement.

The situation remains a concern for both local residents and those living in regions affected by the smoke.

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References:

1 Canada Wildfires – RAMMB-CIRA Satellite Library – Accessed June 7, 2023

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA

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