Hazy air along the East Coast and parts of the Midwest is being caused by more than 80 wildfires burning over 1 million acres across 13 Western states.
Multiple areas have had air quality alerts issued, including the entire state of New York, which issued it on Tuesday over concerns about the amount of “Fine Particulate Matter” in the air. Other areas include parts of New Jersey, Baltimore and other parts of Maryland, the majority of Minnesota, and several counties in central Pennsylvania.
Smoke and haze from the wildfires in the western U.S. can be seen drifting southeast across the Tri-State area in this satellite imagery. This will filter the sunshine here throughout the day today. pic.twitter.com/LfSay79IQy
Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, which has been classified as a megafire and is the fourth largest in the state’s history, is one of many driving the decrease in air quality. The Bootleg Fire has burned over 606 square miles, forced at least 2,000 Oregon residents to evacuate, and is 30% contained, according to USA Today.
The Beckwourth Complex Fire in California has also reached megafire status after burning over 100,000 acres. However, as of Tuesday, it is 90% contained and is not expected to breach its perimeter. The Tamarack Fire in California’s Alpine County has scorched an estimated 39,000 acres and is 0% contained.
Smoke from Western wildfires has reached the East Coast before. In September 2020, Washington, D.C., saw hazy conditions and cooler temperatures caused by multiple wildfires burning in Oregon, with the smoke creeping as far as Greenland. North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland were also among the states affected by these fires.