Dull skies and cities on alert: smoke from fires spreads across the United States

Wildfires in the western United States, including one still alive in Oregon and currently the largest in the country, are dulling the skies as far east as New York. The inferno of flames in the forests of several states spew plumes of smoke and ash up to 10 kilometers high.

The skies in New York City were hazy Tuesday due to easterly winds from California, Oregon, Montana and other Pacific Coast states.

New York and several regions of the eastern United States and Canada were covered by a gray veil and the smell of smoke.

New York State Environmental Protection Services issued an air quality alert for the whole day, as happens whenever there are concentration rates of fine particles higher than 35 micrograms per cubic meter.

The Oregon Bootleg Fire spanned 1,595 square kilometers, half the area of ​​the state of Rhode Island. In any case, for the moment its impact was not so great on the population.

If the fire had occurred in populated areas of California “it would have destroyed thousands of homes,” said James Johnston, a researcher at the Oregon State University College of Forestry who investigates historic fires. “But it is in one of the most remote areas,” he clarified.

At least 2,000 homes were evacuated and 5,000 were threatened by the fire at some point.

The fire has already devoured at least 70 houses and more than 100 structures. A dense smoke covers the area, where residents, fauna and flora have suffered months of drought and extreme heat. But no deaths were registered.

There were also active fires this Wednesday in both parts of the Sierra Nevada in California.

In Alpine County, in the so-called California Alps, the Tamarack Fire forced evict various towns and it stretched 158 square kilometers and kept moving.

The Dixie Fire – which is near the town of Paradise, which was devastated by flames in 2018 – spanned more than 163 square kilometers and threatened small communities in the Feather River Valley region.

The smoke on the west coast was reminiscent of what happened last year, when there were several large fires in Oregon, the worst disaster season for the state in memory and with smoke that impacted air quality several thousand miles away. distance.

“We are seeing many fires that produce tremendous amounts of smoke and by the time it reaches the east of the country, where it usually disperses, there is already too much smoke in the atmosphere from all these fires and that is still very dense,” explained David Lawrence, of the National Meteorological Service.

“In the last two years, we have seen this phenomenon,” he remarked.

Lose everything

Tony Galvez fled the Tamarack fire in California on Tuesday with his daughter and soon after learned that their home was burned to the ground.

“I lost my whole life, everything I had. The children are what matters,” he said while receiving calls from relatives.

The Oregon fire swept through the southern part of the state and has expanded up to 6 km per day, fueled by the winds and the strong drought that turned the trees and brush into a tinderbox.

In Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, more than 2,000 people were evacuated in recent days, amid more than 200 active fires there and in neighboring Manitoba province, according to authorities.

Source: AP and EFE

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