CLOSE

The devastating wildfires that have consumed millions of acres in California, Oregon and elsewhere has traveled across the U.S. NorthJersey.com

Smoke from the wildfires devastating California and Oregon has made its way across the U.S., causing hazy skies in New Jersey that will last for days, forecasters said Tuesday.

While millions of burning acres have caused air quality to plummet in the West, the smoke over the Northeast is so high in the atmosphere that it should not harm health, said Bill Goodman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s New York office. 

“We’re seeing it 25,000 to 30,000 feet up, so there’s no impact on ground level, which is a good thing for us,” Goodman said.

The fires have killed at least 36 people and burned through an area larger than the state of Connecticut. That has produced smoke so pervasive that it was carried 3,000 miles by prevailing winds across the Northern Plains and Great Lakes into the New York region.

It was first noticeable Monday evening in New Jersey, where the sun appeared much dimmer, with a hazy halo surrounding it.

That should last until late Thursday, when a cold front from Canada is expected to push the smoke south, Goodman said.

“We should see blue skies on Friday and into the weekend,” he said.

Earlier: New Jersey Forest Fire Service crews report to nation’s wildfire ’hot spots’

Breaking: Two Lodi teachers positive for COVID, union urges school shutdown

The lack of smoke at ground level is welcome news in New Jersey, which has some of the worst air quality in the nation. North Jersey continually receives an F for high ozone levels every year from the American Lung Association. More than 700,000 New Jerseyans are estimated to have asthma.

State residents nonetheless enjoyed some of the cleanest air of their lives during the height of the pandemic this spring as car traffic and electricity demands plummeted. Two major pollutants — nitrogen oxides that form unhealthy ozone and microscopic exhaust particles — dropped significantly from March through May.

Those levels were expected to increase as the state slowly opened over the summer and into autumn.

Scott Fallon covers the environment for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news about how New Jersey’s environment affects your health and well-being,  please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: fallon@northjersey.com Twitter: @newsfallon 

Read or Share this story: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/environment/2020/09/15/west-coast-wildfire-smoke-spreads-all-way-nj/5806094002/

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here