July 11, 2014

Canadian wildfires affecting air quality and air visibility in United States

Looking at the NOAA HMS Smoke and Fire Product (top left), the small red dots indicate groups of fires, while the light grey areas are smoke plumes. The one stemming from Washington is a result of the Rock Hill and Mills Canyon wildfires, the latter having an area of over 18000 acres. The other plumes in the image are remnant smoke from the Canadian wildfires, even the small plume on the Missouri-Illinois border. The MODIS Terra image (top right) illustrates elevated AODs in regions corresponding to these Canadian plumes, including the Missouri-Illinois border.

To take a closer look in this region, the webcam photo to the left is from Mammoth Cave National Park, Tennessee, a little ways east of the smoke. At 3:30 CDT, the visual range was 38 miles, and comparing to the clear-hazy example (middle right), poor air visibility is being experienced close to the plume.

The EPA AIRNow combined AQI animation below also shows moderate AQIs over much of the eastern portion of the United States, particularly the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. USG were seen in southern Texas starting this afternoon, and even Unhealthy AQIs were popping up in Canada south of the wildfires. The current high AQI is in Cincinnati, OH (127). Both in AOD and in AQI, the smoke emanating from the Canadian wildfires that has been documented for some time now continues to affect air quality in North America.

Posted by Graham Antoszewski at July 11, 2014 6:11 PM
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