California Wildfires Spreading 3-Times Faster than Last Year | Smoke Spreading to New York City

Steven Agar | FireFire
california, smoke, wildfire
People watch flames from the Holy Fire outside Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona, California, on Aug. 10. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

California’s wildfires have destroyed tens of thousands of acres and are now burning through land at a pace more than three times faster than last year’s blazes. And even though devastation and danger are evident in California, this forecast model shows the wildfire smoke traveling thousands of miles to New York.

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This model forecast shows how far the wildfire smoke has spread. Credit: NWS

The smoke reaching the East Coast is about a mile high and at that height, New Yorkers will not be able to see or smell the smoke, however, forecast models show it will be there. It is possible though that winds could push the smoke lower to ground level, where it will then become a health risk for those with respiratory issues and cause unhealthy air quality.

The NWS said in a tweet: “Smoke from the western fires is making it all the way to the East Coast and beyond.”

Wildfires continue to rage across California, about 4,200 fires have charred more than 820,000 acres so far, and CalFire said some fires may not be contained until September. That compares to about 226,000 acres at this point last year.

Kelly Pohl, a research analyst with Headwaters Economics told The New York Times: “The trends are pretty astounding in terms of the numbers of acres burned, the length of the wildfire season, the numbers of structures lost. If you look at the trends over several decades, they’ve all gone up.”

california, smoke, wildfire
The wildfires have spread to tens of thousands of acres. Credit: Getty

There are currently nine large fires burning across California, including one north of San Francisco in Mendocino and Lake counties that’s the largest in state history. By this time last year, the most deadly California fires hadn’t even begun. The Tubbs, Redwood Valley and Atlas fires, which together killed 37 people, were all in October.

California is experiencing more destructive wildfires because of the dry conditions and high temperatures. The state has spent a quarter of its annual firefighting budget in July.


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