Western wildfires are contributing to the worst air quality in New York in years

Before the 2021 fire season started in the western US, experts knew it was will be bad. Now, people across the country are seeing “how bad it is,” as smoke from the fires has spread all the way to the East Coast. Common wisdom says where there is smoke there is fire. However, in this case, these massive western wildfires are thousands of miles away.

Fires were expected in many western states due to Historically bad drought conditions and record high temperatures. There are 78 major western wildfires active in 13 states, according to National Interagency Fire Center. In total, more than 1.3 million acres were burned. The agency expects Above average shooting potential For large areas of the west until September.

smuggled fire

Right now, the largest fire is the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon. The fire started with a lightning strike, and is the fourth largest in Oregon history at more than 395,000 acres. In terms of size, this is an area larger than Los Angeles. Fire brigades had to retreat to safety zones for 11 consecutive days due to the rapidly changing fire.

Plumes of smoke billow from the Bootleg Fire on the horizon of farmland in southern Oregon.
Smoke clouds from the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon. Uncredited / AP / Shutterstock / Shutterstock

Bootleg fire big enough to create its own weather. Pyroculus clouds, also known as fire clouds, form when heat from wildfires rises rapidly, condensing any moisture. These clouds can create lightning and high winds, which are not useful for firefighting crews. At the end of June, pyrocumulus clouds formed by wildfires in British Columbia, Canada, caused more than 700,000 lightning strikes In a single 24-hour period, new fires start across the county.

In 2020, smoke from wildfires formed a wall across the entire West Coast causing foggy days and red skies resembling the apocalypse. During a period last September, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland had some of the The worst air quality numbers in the world. This year, the smoke is moving eastward across the United States, particularly to the Midwest and Northeast. Today, the Statue of Liberty was shrouded in smoke and New York City reported some of it Worst air quality in 15 years.

The Statue of Liberty is enveloped in smoke from wildfires in the western United States.
The Statue of Liberty is enveloped in smoke from wildfires in the western United States. Julie Jacobson/Associated Press/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

As for the Bootleg Fire, while it’s 30 percent contained, it won’t be putting out any time soon. Katie O’Hara, a fire management specialist with the National Park Service, said: CNN That because of the size of the fire, the only thing that can put out is the weather.

“The scope and scale of the Bootleg Fire will require a season-ending weather event such as a major storm that is either widespread wet rain or snow, which typically occurs in southern Oregon in the late fall,” Ohara She said.

Fire resistance for future fire seasons

Interestingly, one part of the forest that burned during the Bootleg Fire may help provide answers for upcoming fire seasons. For a decade, ecologists have been “fighting fire” on the 30,000-acre Sikan Marsh Preserve. This means removing young trees and doing a planned burn. So, when the fire reached the reserve, the firefighters said that instead of jumping from one tree to another, the fire moved on the ground. Because of this, they were able to better control it and protect parts of the forest. For a region increasingly affected by climate change, this type of forest management may point the way forward.

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Written by Joseph

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