Smoke from the California wildfires has made its way to the east coast
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - You may notice a more pronounced haze over our area than a typical humid, summer day. Turns out, it’s smoke that has made the trip thousands of miles in the jet stream from the California wildfires. The fires are so expansive that they have torched more land than five New York cities.
Our Poor Mountain camera in Roanoke county has a good view of the “milky” look to the sky. Fortunately, for us, the smoke is dispersed into the middle levels of the atmosphere where it will likely stay. This means our air quality should be unchanged.
This is the fourth straight year of devastating wildfires in the state. At the heart of the fire, the air quality is in California is considered to be worse than the air in Beijing, China, known for its smog.
Studies from Columbia University show the area burned by wildfire in California increased more than five times since the early 1970s. While there are many factors that contribute to the susceptibility of the California valleys, climate change isn’t helping. More frequent heat waves and droughts are leading to drier conditions. When lightning strikes or humans start the fires, they are much more likely to spread rapidly.
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