In a sight not seen too often, smoke from wildfires along the West Coast have made it all the way to the East Coast. The video above shows hazy skies in New York City seen Tuesday, as well as an interview with David Lawrence, a meteorologist/emergency response specialist for the National Weather Service.
Lawrence said the New York City skies could be hazy for the next couple weeks. “People see it with things like pretty sunsets, whether it’s red or orange. You’re seeing those extra colors in the sunset or sunrise,” Lawrence said.
The West Coast fires are contributing to the thousands of miles of smoke. “By the time that smoke gets to the eastern portion of the country where it’s usually thinned out, there’s just so much smoke in the atmosphere from all these fires that it’s still pretty thick,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence noted this cross-country wildfire smoke hasn’t always been a common occurrence. “Smoke is being transported by the winds aloft in the atmosphere to places it normally doesn’t end up, at least in most years,” Lawrence said. “It becomes quite noticeable, again, especially over the last two years when we’ve seen this phenomenon of just a tremendous amount of Western wildfires occurring.”
The largest of the West Coast fires is the Bootleg fire. It has grown to 616 square miles — half the size of Rhode Island — and it’s spreading by up to four miles each day.
The Bootleg Fire is fourth-biggest wildfire in Oregon’s modern history, and is burning in one of the most remote areas of the continental U.S.
Fires also grew on both sides of California’s Sierra Nevada. The Dixie Fire, which broke out near the site of the 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people in the town of Paradise, ballooned to more than 133 square miles in size, with 15% containment. More than 800 structures were threatened. In the “California Alps”, the Tamarack Fire caused evacuations of several communities and grew to 61 square miles with no containment.