- Title: Smog envelops Atlantic Coast after Western U.S. wildfires
- Date: 20th July 2021
- Summary: TORONTO, CANADA (JULY 19, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CN TOWER AMID SMOG DURING EVENING HOURS PEDESTRIANS TORONTO SKYLINE CN TOWER REFLECTED ON SIDE OF BUILDING SUN OVER SQUARE VARIOUS OF MOON IN SMOGGY SKY STREET TRAFFIC SHORELINE / MAN ROLLER BLADING VARIOUS OF BOATS ON SHORE
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2021 18:03
- Keywords: West Coast Wildfires flames smog weather
- Location: TORONTO, CANADA / HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES / GRAPHIC
- City: TORONTO, CANADA / HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES / GRAPHIC
- Country: USA
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Fires,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA003EMN8CHZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Dozens of wildfires in the western United States and Canada, led by a massive blaze in Oregon, are lofting smoke into east-bound air currents that are worsening air quality in some parts of the country and making for colorful sunsets in others.
More than 80 large wildfires in 13 western states had charred nearly 1.3 million acres (526,090 hectares), an area larger than the state of Delaware, by Tuesday, according to National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.
But thanks to the jet stream and other cross-continental air currents, the regional disasters have being felt nationally.
Wildfire smoke prompted an advisory from New York health and environmental authorities on Tuesday (July 20) for fine particulate matter as the region's Air Quality Index hit 118, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with breathing problems.
Indeed, smog was seen occupying postcard views of the New York skyline during the day.
AQI readings well above 100 were also recorded in other Northeast cities, including Boston, Hartford and Philadelphia.
In Cleveland and Detroit, AQI topped 125, which NIFC meteorologist Nick Nauslar said was likely caused by smoke from Canadian wildfires in southeast Manitoba and southwest Ontario.
While much of the smoke diffuses into the upper atmosphere after traveling thousands of miles, it still can lower air quality, Nauslar said.
Unhealthy AQI readings also were recorded on Monday in parts of Idaho and Montana, which, along with Washington state, are in the wind-driven path of smoke from the Bootleg fire, according to Margaret Key, an air resource advisor helping to battle the huge southern Oregon wildfire.
The Bootleg fire, already the country's largest wildfire, grew by 24,200 acres overnight to nearly 388,600 acres (157,260 hectares), about half the size of Rhode Island, as nearly 2,200 personnel had managed to contain 30% of it, officials said.
By early on Tuesday, the fire had destroyed 67 homes and was threatening 3,400 more. An estimated 2,100 people were under evacuation orders or on standby alert to be ready to flee at a moment's notice.
Rising smoke from the fire raging in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest about 250 miles (400 km) south of Portland has already produced at least two pyrocumulonimbus clouds, an unusual phenomenon often called fire clouds, the NIFC's Nauslar said.
Nauslar said a similar cloud was produced on Monday by the 60,000-acre (24,280-hectare) Dixie fire in a remote area 85 miles (140 km) north of Sacramento, California, which officials said was 15% contained.
Images provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration showed the flaring up.
In all, 19,347 personnel are battling the western wildfires, NIFC said.
(Production by: Kyaw Soe Oo, Andrew Hofstetter and Dan Fastenberg)
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