Many parts of the northern United States have been affected by a disturbing layer of Canada wildfire smoke. It is so severe that the smoke has prompted the cancellation of many outdoor activities and events. The source of the issue is a coast-to-coast belt of around 250 wildfires over Canada’s northern border. The Canadian government warned citizens that 2023 may become the nation’s worst fire year ever. Although wildfires are normal and healthy parts of an ecosystem, they can turn into unnatural infernos that produce unhealthy smoke to the point of impacting people’s health hundreds of miles away.
People in the densely populated northeast, including New York City, naturally wish to know when the smoke from this wildfire will clear up. However, this might not be good news.
When Will the Smoke Be Gone?
Technically speaking, no one knows. The projected answer is that at least it won’t be until after Thursday morning, according to a projection by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Space Science and Engineering Center.
As of this writing, the smoke, with its harmful particulate matter, gases, and liquid droplets, is expected to get worse before clearing up. The RAMMB-CIRA satellite imagery library of Colorado State University shows a fresh cloud of smoke pouring south through Western New York and Pennsylvania, on its way to New York City.
AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines told a local paper called The Staten Island Advance that smoke will still be an issue Wednesday and Thursday and probably into Friday too.
Will the Smoke Clear Soon?
Some light rain is expected on Friday, and it has been demonstrated that water droplets like rain attract aerosol particles, making rain theoretically capable of “cleaning” the air. However, in practice, rain can’t be relied upon as a solution.
It’s important to remember that the smoke from this wildfire first drifted into the US last month and that it’s likely to dissipate, only to return in the next few weeks thanks to other fires and atmospheric patterns.
Even when the smoke has cleared, low concentrations of it can still hang around and mix with the pollution that’s already in the air. And the smoke produced by today’s wildfires is harmful to health.
Sign up for Mashable’s Light Speed newsletter today for more science and tech news delivered straight to your inbox.
How Can You Plan Around the Wildfire Smoke?
It’s important to keep in mind the potential for the smoke to linger and make plans around that. New York City’s clean air is some of the most hazardous in the world right now. The city’s real-time air quality monitor site shows a staggering jump in pollution over the past two days. It’s a good idea to stay inside and avoid using candles and gas appliances that require ventilation. Your lungs need all the help they can get right now.
Wildfires are devastating events. They release wildfire smoke that can travel for hundreds of miles and impact people’s health. Therefore, it’s essential to take every possible precaution both during and after such natural disasters to protect both yourself and others.