Wildfire smoke from Canada moves farther into United States

31 May 2019

wildfire smoke map north america
The distribution of wildfire smoke across North America. By NOAA, Office of Satellite And Product Operations.

Smoke created in Alberta by wildfires over the last week, but especially on Wednesday when extreme fire weather caused major fire growth, is moving farther south into the United States.  Much of the northern tier of states has significant quantities of smoke and it reaches as far south as Colorado and Kansas, with lighter concentrations in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Montana is particularly affected according to AirNow, with Helena having “Unhealthy” air quality Friday morning. Lewiston and Great Falls are rated at “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”.

But it is much worse in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. For example, the air quality in Calgary is maxed out on the nasty air scale, rated at “Very High Risk”.

Unfortunately, NOAA’s Office of Satellite And Product Operations that produced the smoke map is having problems with their website and it is not possible to confirm with 100 percent confidence how current the mapped smoke data is. But we’re thinking it represents the distribution of smoke as of Friday morning. Hopefully NOAA can get this glitch fixed.

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