New York is covered in haze with smoke from western wildfires

New York is covered in haze as giant billows of smoke from raging Western wildfires travels thousands of miles across the country and lightning threatens more blazes

  • Smoke from raging wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada has covered New York in a haze as the flames continue to burn hundreds of thousands of acres 
  • The haze is visible over the Great Lakes region and reached New York City this morning and is expected to last all day 
  • The massive Bootleg Fire in Oregon has scorched more than 476 square miles 
  • An army of 2,250 firefighters have taken on the blaze 250 miles south of Portland
  • As of Tuesday, the fire has destroyed 67 homes and threatens 3,400 more
  • More than 2,000 people evacuated as fire continues to rage

Smoke from raging wildfires in the western U.S. and Canada has covered New York in a haze as the flames continue to burn hundreds of thousands of acres. 

The haze is visible over the Great Lakes region and reached New York City this morning and is expected to last all day.  

The smoke primarily comes from the Bootleg Fire, the largest of more than 80 fires out west that has scorched more than 476 square miles.

The haze, caused by the fires out west, has rolled into New York City and can be seen invading the skyline

The haze is expected to stay in New York throughout the day as the Bootleg fire continues to rage

A view of Manhattan’s Chinatown looking uptown shows the Empire State barely visible in the distance

The view from Brookyn Bridge shows downtown Brooklyn completely shrouded in the haze

Sattelite image shows the haze from Oregon’s wildfire spreading across toward the East Coast and blanketing New York

On Tuesday morning, air quality alerts were issued for New York Cityand the National Weather Service urged sensitive groups to remain indoors. 

‘What typically would have been just a nice sunny, blue-sky day is probably going to have that milky, hazy look to the sky,’ Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson told the NY Post. 

‘It could be some rather beautiful, enhanced, vibrant sunsets tomorrow evening just because of that smoke.’

An army of 2,250 personnel battling the Bootleg Fire, raging in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest 250 miles south of Portland, had managed to carve containment lines around 30% of the perimeter by late Monday, up from 22% the day before, the Oregon Forestry Department reported.

‘We are fighting the fire aggressively, and there are active efforts to build a containment line, both direct and indirect, wherever it is safe to do so,’ agency spokesman Marcus Kauffman said. Ground crews, backed by water-dropping helicopters and airplane tankers, included reinforcements from at least 30 U.S. states he said.

But the amount of landscape charred since the blaze erupted on July 6 grew another 47,000-plus acres on Monday alone to reach an estimated total of 364,000 acres – more than half the land mass of Rhode Island – the forestry department said.

The overall Bootleg footprint included almost 13,000 acres burned in a smaller fire that merged with the Bootleg on Monday, Kauffman said.

A satellite  image shows the fire in Oregon and the smoke clouds as the blow eastward, creating a haze that will be seen on the other side of the country today

The Bootleg Fire began July 6 in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon

A tanker drops retardant over the Bootleg Fire in hopes of containing the blaze

Over 2,000 firefighters are combating the Bootleg Fire

The Bootleg Fire is the largest of 80 wildfires blazing across the western U.S. and Canada

The Bootleg Fire has devastated the area with thousands set to evacuate

Firefighting teams from California have sent eight strike teams/task forces, including 40 engines and firefighting crews, to help with the wildfire response in neighboring Oregon

Firefighters have been able to contain 30% of the Bootleg Fire 

At least 2,000 homes have been evacuated at some point during the fire and another 5,000 threatened. At least 70 homes and more than 100 outbuildings have gone up in flames. 

So far, the fire had destroyed 67 homes and over 100 outbuildings and other structures have also been lost. An estimated 2,100 people were under evacuation orders or on standby alert to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

‘It was red, like we were on Mars,’ evacuee Sayyid Bey, 45, said, recounting the crimson glow of the sky as flames he saw engulfing whole trees closed in on his property on the outskirts of Bly, Oregon, on July 9, raining soot and embers on the small community.

At that point, Bey and his wife packed their three children – aged 6, 11 and 12 – with as many belongings as they could carry into a borrowed pickup truck and sped off down a gravel road out of harm’s way, he said.

He returned later to find his property reduced to ash, along with much of the rest of the wooded mountain enclave of mobile homes and hand-built dwellings called Sycan Estates, Bey said.

A former salesman who left his big-city fashion industry job several years ago to move ‘off the grid’ in Oregon, Bey said he reckoned that at least 60 homes around his were lost. But he said neighbors were already banding together with plans to help one another rebuild.

Homeowners were not alone in finding themselves scurrying into retreat.

Extremely incendiary conditions on Sunday forced some firefighting teams to fall back to safety zones for a ninth straight day and regroup as they ‘looked for opportunities to reengage,’ incident commander Joe Hessel wrote in his daily report.

‘This fire is a real challenge, and we are looking at sustained battle for the foreseeable future.’

The Bootleg Fire stood as the biggest, by far, of 80 major active wildfires that have collectively burned nearly 1.2 million acres in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. More than 19,600 firefighters and support personnel are confronting those flames.

The spate of conflagrations, marking a heavier-than-normal start of the Western wildfire season, has coincided with record-shattering heat that has baked much of the region in recent weeks and is blamed for hundreds of deaths.

Scientists have said the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires are largely attributable to prolonged drought and increasing bouts of excessive heat that are symptomatic of climate change.

Smoke was seen Sunday from space through the NASA Earth Observatory satellite  

Smoke and heat from the inferno is creating pyrocumulus clouds – also known as fire clouds. They can create their own weather systems and thunderclouds, causing lightning that can spark additional fires

Since starting July 6, the Bootleg Fire has thrived from a combustible mix of weather conditions – gusty winds, high temperatures and low humidity – that are expected to persist. Forecasts on Monday added a chance of thunderstorms to the mix.

‘Thunderstorms often just come with dry lightning and wind and don’t necessarily produce any precipitation,’ Kauffman said.

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