Wildfire Smoke From Canada Reaches Europe

Although the recent heavy haze that covered much of the northeastern United States has cleared, the underlying issue is still very much present. Scientists warned on Tuesday, claiming that the Canadian wildfires had produced “record levels of emissions” that had already spread a smoke cloud across the Atlantic to Europe.

According to a report by Copernicus, an Earth observation program run by the European Union, the Canadian wildfires have only worsened during June. Due to the severity of the fires, the country’s overall fire radiative power was “significantly higher” in the first three weeks of June than it had been on average during the previous 20 years. The wildfires are also thought to have released 100 megatons of carbon.

According to Copernicus, these have been at “record levels of emissions,” making up “the largest annual estimated emissions for Canada in the 21 years of our [Global Fire Assimilation System] dataset,” which began in 2003.

As a result of the smoke-related air pollution, the United States has suffered dramatically over the previous few weeks. And the effects are far from finished. According to Copernicus forecasters, the smoke from Canada arrived in Europe on Monday and is predicted to continue traveling east until Thursday.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reports that 493 active fires were burning more than 7.7 million hectares (19 million acres) of land across Canada as of Monday. Authorities stated in their most recent dashboard statistics, updated on Monday, that at least 259 of those fires are still “out of control.”

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According to Copernicus, last week’s escalation of the fires in Quebec and Ontario resulted in a “strong episode of long-range smoke transport crossing the North Atlantic and reaching Europe.”

According to senior scientist Mark Parrington with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the emissions and severity of the Canadian wildfires have been nothing less than “unusual” compared to the past two decades of data. But he added that the accompanying smoke transfer is to be expected.

“The long-range transport of smoke that we are currently monitoring is not unusual, and it is not anticipated to have any significant impact on surface air quality in Europe,” Parrington stated. “However, it is a clear reflection of the intensity of the fires that such high values of aerosol optical depth and other pollutants are so high as it reaches this side of the Atlantic.”

Canada’s current wildfire season has been sporadic and even among the worst in recorded history.

According to a news release by the health minister, “We are currently experiencing devastating wildfires across the country during one of the worst wildfire seasons on record.” We should all take the appropriate precautions to safeguard our health and wellness during these times, including being aware of the air quality in our neighborhoods and limiting our exposure to wildfire smoke.

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