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Wildfire smoke from B.C., western U.S. affecting East Coast air quality

Last Updated Jul 22, 2021 at 6:36 am PDT

A thick haze hangs over Manhattan, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in New York. Wildfires in the American West, including one burning in Oregon that's currently the largest in the U.S., are creating hazy skies as far away as New York as the massive infernos spew smoke and ash into the air in columns up to six miles high. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Summary

Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers says smoky summers are likely here to stay

The AQI reading in New York City Tuesday evening reached 137, posing a health risk for vulnerable groups

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Wildfire smoke from B.C. and the western U.S. has wafted to the other side of the continent, prompting air quality advisories in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers says smoky summers are likely here to stay, and likely getting worse due to climate change.

“You know, just the shift in the weather patterns that I’ve seen in the decades that I’ve been working here, I don’t see that being reversed. Unfortunately, the trend toward dry, hot summers and the forest fire danger that comes along with it, I think is, unfortunately, going to be a common feature in the years to come,” he says.

“I think the conditions were about as bad as I’ve ever seen it here across Pennsylvania, and I’ve been observing the weather a long time. There was nobody that did not notice it. If you were outside you could smell it, and the visibilities were very poor.”

Low visibility and poor air quality in the Eastern U.S. as a result of fires thousands of kilomteres away is not unprecedented, but Bowers says this year’s fire season got off to a troublingly swift start.

“It’s usually well into August before we have one of these episodes when you have a hazy sky or where the day looks a little smoky,” he notes.

“The fire season did get underway early. We’ve been seeing the extraordinary heat going along with those very dry conditions.”

The AQI reading in New York City Tuesday evening reached 137, posing a health risk for vulnerable groups.

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