Wildfire smoke from the West's fires dims skies in the east

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
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Location: Long Island, New York

20 Jul 2021, 6:37 pm

Wildfire smoke from the West's massive blazes stretches all the way to the East Coast

The massive Bootleg Fire in Oregon has scorched an area larger than Los Angeles, and it's only 30% contained. The fire is so large and is burning so hot that it's creating its own weather.

It's just one of the many blazes raging in the West; the National Interagency Fire Center is watching 80 large fires across 13 states this week -- a testament to just how destructive the US wildfire season has become.

And the effects of the fires stretch all the way to the East Coast.

Extraordinary plumes of wildfire smoke are billowing out of these massive complexes, reaching so far up into the atmosphere that they are being carried thousands of miles east by high-level winds.

Even as fog cleared Tuesday morning around the Great Lakes and along the East Coast, it was still hard to find sunshine as a thick blanket of wildfire haze hung in the sky.

"In areas where skies are 'clear,' thick smoke aloft is limiting sunshine, with no discernible sunrise visible at our office earlier this morning despite practically clear skies!" wrote the National Weather Service office in Albany, New York.
There were few clouds in the Northeast on Tuesday morning, but the smoke -- carried on a 3,000-mile trip across the country -- created a hazy start to the day.

In some areas, the smoke has reached the ground level, where it can be a health concern. Air quality alerts have been issued hundreds of miles from the flames, as far east as Pennsylvania and New York.

Large wildfires in Canada have produced massive amounts of smoke as well, prompting air quality alerts in areas of Minnesota and North Dakota. "Smoke from wildfires located north of the Canadian border in Ontario and Manitoba will be transported by northerly winds behind a front moving into the northern portions of the state," said National Weather Service meteorologists in North Dakota.

I could barely see my shadow and what sunlight there was was orange. The sky is milky white. We have had the sky greatly affected by west coast fires, but I can not recallthe smoke getting down to ground level before.

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20 Jul 2021, 6:48 pm

Yeah, the skies have been weird here in Illinois the past couple of days. Thanks for the information.

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Mona Pereth

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20 Jul 2021, 7:31 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
I could barely see my shadow and what sunlight there was was orange. The sky is milky white. We have had the sky greatly affected by west coast fires, but I can not recall the smoke getting down to ground level before.

I recall a few times when we (here in the NYC metro area) had smoke at ground level from forest fires in Appalachia, but not fires on the West Coast.

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Mountain Goat

Joined: 13 May 2019
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20 Jul 2021, 7:43 pm

I have a theory as here in the UK it is proved to be true, but I can't speak for other countries.
In the spring months farmers and others who had done all the other work as summers are "All go" for them, but after the harvest they had a little more time... And they would concentrate on any ditches and fences that needed to be repaired and then in the winter, but in late autumn they would clear the gorse and shrubbery across the commons and on their lands by organizing large controlled fires. They would set fire to it and have many people there at the ready to prevent it from getting out of hand. It was not a problem because it was never done in the hot seasons. We never really had issues with large uncontrolled fires due to this apart from rare events, and every spring there was new growth, and certain flowers and plants we no longer see because they only tended to grew after there had been a fire.
But for a decade or so the practice has been stopped to combat climate change. Since then, every other summer there has been issues with large uncontrolled fires which end up putting homes and animals in danger. The controlled fires rarely put wild animals in danger as they would start them in a line and all the people around meant that pretty much most animals would have feld the scene, but these summer uncontrolled fires is a different story as many wild animals still have young so can't flee. The uncontrolled fires are also not predictable like the controlled ones were so the possible escape routes for wild animals would be reduced.
If anything, the attempts to combat climate change by preventing controlled fires has cause more pollution via much larger uncontrolled fires then if they had not bothered which makes me puzzle if the climate change activists advising governments actually know what they are doing and if they had consulted farmers and others who knew exactly why these practices were done before they made the change? It seems to me that they are a group of university students who have studied climate change but nothing else, and have used their degrees to influence others when they don't actually know what they are doing and neither did the ones who taught them?

The old "Slash and burn" methods were done both to prevent uncontrolled fires in the summer, and also to make the land fertile ready to plant crops. This had been going on for generations and generations and they knew what they were doing.

Now other countries used to use similar methods in the right season. A wide line of trees was left unplanted to provide fire breaks here in the UK. Today they try to make use of as much land as they can so these important fire breaks are neglected so if they get a forestry fire, they have pretty much lost the lot! I have to ask why the new generations think they know best and won't listen to the older people who know and have learned through experience and have had the teaching drummed into them from father to son for generations. Is this the main reason why todays fires end up so much larger than in the past and it has nothing to do with global warming except in a very indirect way?

Of course some land in some climates could never be farmed using these slash and burn methods. In the past farmers who went out to certain parts of America expected they could do the same and whilw in some parts it worked just fine, in one or two areas they created dust bowls as they did not realize that by clearing the land in such a way would create a different kind of problem! If they had been given localized knowledge they would have avoided these issues. Sadly they found out the hard way! But isn't that in itself the same problem that we are facing today with the climate change prevention policies in that the brains behind them have not consulted the local people to find out the history of what can and can not be done and they thought they knew better?
What really "Gets me" is not that they make mistakes. What gets at me is they think they are cleverer then the locals so they refuse to aknowledge that they have made mistakes when they do and they repeat their process again and again as they refuse to listen! It is the refusing to listen saying "I am right because I am an "Expert"" when they really don't know more then that piece of paper they get when they pass has taught them, and has been taught them by academically minded people who have made them carbon copies of themselves. Wisdom says "Listen and learn". Foolishness says "I know becase I am qualified". Does this make us live in a land of fools? Who knows!! All I know is that many of todays mistakes could have been avoided if they had just left things alone as they were!


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21 Jul 2021, 9:42 am

Hazy orange sunset here yesterday.Sun looked like a dark orange ball.Weatherman said it was from wildfires.It’s becoming a common occurrence.

I am the dust that dances in the light. - Rumi