Officials warn Canadian wildfires could last all summer pushing smog over the US
Officials warn that wildfires in will continue to burn with increased severity this summer, potentially for the coming months. Forecasts prepared by Natural Resources Canada indicate that throughout June, July, August and September, wildfires will burn across larger swathes of forest than in previous years. The smoke last week that sent US air quality ratings to record levels may return throughout this year's wildfire season. The extent to which smoke from Canada is steered onto the lower 48 states will be determined by wind patterns. For as long as the fires do burn, atmospheric currents could steer smoke into the lower 48 states. Last week's severe bout of fires was thought to have been triggered at least in part by a bout of lightning, igniting the fires across predominantly southeastern Quebec, as well as jet stream currents forced smoke over the East Coast and Midwest. That left residents of New York City and Philadelphia, among other places, in dense smoke that turned the sky yellow and caused officials to warn people to stay inside. June 6, 7 and 8 were three of the worst days for wildfire smoke in recorded US history in terms of the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere, . New York City and Philadelphia for the smoke. A yellow haze came over the Big Apple early in the week, as health officials warned of the potential dangers. 'The Canadian wildfires present a common exposure to almost all New Yorkers right now,' . 'Our risk from this exposure is based on our own personal underlying health condition. 'Those New Yorkers with underlying conditions such as lung or heart disease are at increased risk from this exposure and are encouraged to adjust their activities accordingly.' On June 7, Philadelphia passed New York City for the world air quality in the world. The city's health department announced the area was in 'code red' because of the unhealthy air. Philadelphia officials urged people to wear a high-quality mask while outdoors, to avoid strenuous activities and to keep air recirculating in home using fans and AC units. That smoke could last for weeks longer as officials say there is no immediate end in sight for the fires in Canada. 'Our modeling shows this may be an especially severe wildfire season throughout this summer,' Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference last week, , as more than 400 fires continued to burn. The director general of the Northern Forestry Centre at the Department of Natural Resources, Mike Norton, told reporters that the number of fires was abnormal so early in the season and urged Canadians to exercise 'extreme care.' Maps issues by Natural Resources Canada forecast to what extent wildfire severity will be increased this year across the country. In June, July and August, swathes of the central parts of the country are expected to experience 'well above average' wildfire intensity. By September, levels in most parts of the country will 'above average'. In Quebec, and eastern regions where many of the most recent wildfires were burning, wildfire incidence is expected to be back to normal by September. Regions that are expected to have both the largest increase in wildfires and the most severe fires, in absolute terms, are those right the way along the wester land border between the US and Canada. States along that border include Washington, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. 'These fires are still burning and they're going to continue to burn beyond the next few days,' Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University said . 'Whether we see impacts here in Baltimore or along the eastern seaboard has a lot to do with where the wind is blowing at any given time.' Scientists warn that wildfire events are likely to continue as the planet warms, creating an ideal environment for fires. Canada had an extremely dry and snow-free winter, which has left all 10 provinces currently facing conditions termed abnormal dryness, moderate or severe drought, according to In June 2021, Canada experienced its hottest day ever when the town of Lytton, in British Columbia, hit 121 degrees Fahrenheit, smashing the previous record of 113 degrees. Dry, hot weather also breeds more lightning. Half of Canada's wildfires are started by lightning; the other half by humans. Lightning-sparked fires also tend to be more destructive. Some scientists believe rising global temperatures can affect the jet stream's flow, making it weaker. That Canada's natural resources agency says climate change could potentially double the amount of area burned by the end of this century. For Canada, that means a possible problem for the timber industry, as well as destruction of valuable ecosystems. Some have argued that the blazes and ensuing smoke could have been avoided with better forest management, claiming too few controlled burns are being performed to clear the forest of flammable surplus. In 2020, four scientists wrote a paper published in in which they said not enough money was being spent by Canada on managing forests. 'Wildfire management agencies in Canada are at a tipping point,' they wrote. 'Presuppression and suppression costs are increasing but program budgets are not.' In July 2021, warned that more needed to be done to hold controlled burns, and reduce the problem of out-of-control wildfires.