Western Wildfire Smoke Takes Vacation to Big Apple

If you can make air quality poor here, you can make air quality poor anywhere.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 20: The Statue of Liberty sits behind a cloud of haze on July 20, 2021 in ...
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Hot dogs, taxi cabs, a largely unsubstantiated rumor of an increase in crime on the subway prompted by fear of an ultimately unsuccessful drive to decrease funding to the NYPD — New York City has it all, baby. It’s no wonder that smoke from Oregon’s 476-square-mile Bootleg Fire has traveled all the way here for a visit.

According to the New York Times, the wildfire smoke reached our magnificent city on July 15. This morning, July 20, the city awoke to an eerily orange sky with progressively smokier air throughout the day. Speaking for myself, I just went for a walk with my dog and texted my friends, “It’s like actually smoky outside.” And it was. Now, my contacts feel drier than usual, and I just put in new ones this morning. New York state officials issued an air quality health advisory for the state until midnight tonight.

We’re seeing the smoke because of the unprecedented um, extreme largeness of the fires, and the fact that smoke particles are pretty cool with travel. "Due to the fact that smoke particles are small and light,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva told AccuWeather.com, “they can be transported hundreds if not a few thousand miles away from their source.”

"While the smoke is not thick enough to obstruct surface visibility,” DaSilva said, “it is thick enough to create poor air quality in some areas and allow for vibrant sunrises and sunsets.”

So that’s good, at least, about the sunrises and sunsets.