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Nature Notebook – Wildfire Smoke

If you’ve noticed hazy sunsets and a misty moon the last few weeks, it isn’t just because of the recent humidity spike. Believe it or not, wildfire smoke from the west coast wildfires have reached the east coast of the United States. It can take only a few days for the smoke from the west to reach eastern states, depending on the wind and weather patterns.

The sunrises may be beautiful, but the smoke triggers unhealthy air quality, making it dangerous for sensitive groups to breathe the air full of extra particulate matter. There have been air quality alerts as far east as New York and Washington D.C. Experts suggest wearing a mask to block particulate matter when outside on bad air quality days.

Over 70 wildfires in the west coast are currently burning without an end in sight. This is only the beginning of wildfire season, and a long-term drought out west is not helping fight the flames, as well as hot temperatures.

Wildfires have been on the rise, partially due to climate change (causing the hot temperatures and droughts) and an increase in human caused wildfires because of the encroachment on once human-less habitat.