A thick haze of smoke drifted over the D.C. region late Tuesday afternoon, driven south from Canada’s burgeoning wildfires by the high-level winds of the jet stream.
There are six large wildfires burning in Alberta and British Columbia, according to the Remote Sensing Applications Center in Salt Lake City. These fires are pumping copious amounts of smoke high into the atmosphere, which is then hitching a ride on the global jet stream to paint our skies pink and orange.
The 9 a.m. visible satellite scan on Wednesday showed the unmistakable, thick smoke from eastern Kentucky all the way into Delaware. NOAA’s Satellite Services Division says that some amount of smoke is present in 17 states from North Dakota to Connecticut, and as far south as Georgia and Alabama.
According to Airnow.gov, the air quality index is moderate in the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, meaning the air is “acceptable” to most populations, although people with high sensitivity might have a “moderate health concern.”
While the wildfire smoke may be contributing slightly to the elevated index in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, the Maryland Department of the Environment suspects it’s a small impact, and they’re more concerned about sunny skies and light winds driving up the ozone levels. “Some Canadian wildfire smoke may be visible Wednesday as a slight haze,” the department writes, “and some minor contributions to fine particle concentrations is expected.”
The red, filtered sun greeted our readers as they stepped out into the late afternoon on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning. The size of the smoke particles are just right for filtering out other colors, which means the pink and orange is seen more vividly in the sky.
Thanks to everyone who shared their skies with us!