PHOTO: Wildfire Smoke from Western US Makes Statue of Liberty a Haunting Silhouette

by Jennifer Shea

The haze from wildfire smoke has made it as far east as New York City. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that the smoke started moving eastward around July 15.

In photos from New York, the Statue of Liberty can be seen shrouded by a smoky curtain. It’s part of a spreading grayish haze that’s visible from outer space.

See a photo here:  

Smoke Is Spreading Across the Country

Wildfire smoke from the Western U.S. and Canada has wafted into the atmosphere. Then it has blown eastward across the U.S. Moreover, it is affecting the Air Quality Index in some states.

In New York, the Air Quality Index was at 118 on Tuesday. That’s a problematic level for people with breathing issues. So health authorities there issued an advisory on fine particulate matter in the air, Reuters reported.

Boston, Hartford and Philadelphia also saw declines in air quality. Meanwhile, in Cleveland and Detroit, the Air Quality Index rose to 125. That was probably a result of the wildfires in Manitoba and Ontario, Canada.

Further, according to maps from the National Weather Service, smoke from wildfires has worsened air quality in multiple states. Those affected include Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana. New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and even Vermont were also shrouded.

Watch a time-lapse video of the spreading wildfire smoke as seen from space here:

Wildfires Are Blazing Throughout the Western U.S.

More than 80 big wildfires are raging out west. So they had burned 1.3 million acres across 13 states as of Tuesday, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

Particularly troublesome is the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon. The nation’s largest wildfire had expanded to nearly 388,600 acres by Tuesday. It torched at least 67 homes. And it threatened 3,400 others. By Tuesday, 2,200 firefighters had gotten it 30% contained.

Unfortunately, smoke around the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Portland has generated two pyrocumulonimbus clouds or fire clouds. Those can produce their own lightning. And that can start a firestorm within the affected area.

Moreover, Fremont-Winema is a trove of old-growth forest, lakes and wildlife refuges, according to USA Today. And drought, dryness and record-breaking heat have left the forest ripe for wildfires.

Climate change, poor forest management and decades of fire suppression are to blame. They have made wildfire season much more severe than in the past, researcher James Johnston told the Associated Press.

For humans, exposure to wildfire smoke can increase susceptibility to respiratory viruses. That includes COVID-19, air resource advisor Margaret Key told Reuters.