The first image below, courtesy NOAA HMS, shows the fire locations across the United States. The red dots correspond to active fires, and the grey areas are plumes. The largest plumes are continuously stretching from the Northwest to the Southeast regions of the country. A majority of the fires in the Northwest region are emitting large amounts of smoke which has been causing many health concerns as that smoke begins to reach the surface. There is also some fire activity in the Mississippi Valley and Plains region. Smoke of that smoke has been sighted over UMBC and has been thinly aloft in the past few days in the Mid-Atlantic. The image below, courtesy GASP EAST, shows the AOD image for the western portion of the counrty today. You can see that most of these raised values correspond to more optically thick areas, which correspond to the fires and smoke debris throughout the nation.
The first image below shows the animation loop for EPA AIRNOW AQI values for the Pacific Northwest region. Large smoke and fire debris mixed with large amounts of ozone made for plenty of Code Reds. In some parts of the animation, there Very Unhealthy (Purple) to Hazardous (Maroon) levels which are very unsafe. The fires burning in this area have been strongly burning for a few weeks now. Below, in the NOAA ozone national forecast, higher temperatures and sunlight (near 100 F, and cloud coverage < 10%) fueled this increase in ozone (as opposed to the wet and cold eastern seaboard).
Posted by John Sullivan at September 18, 2012 7:56 PM