Smoke from wildfires in the western part of the U.S. and Canada have made for some interesting sunrises and sunsets in central Pa.
It has also has led to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issuing a Code Orange, meaning the air quality may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases, and the elderly.
These people are advised to “avoid strenuous activity or exercise outdoors,” according to the air quality alert.
Bill Gartner, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, believes the air quality will improve as a front moves through the region later Wednesday.
“Short term, the air quality looks to improve the next couple of days, but the smoke is going to hang around at least until the weekend,” Gartner said Wednesday. “It will be higher in the sky, which will still produce those hazy sunsets and sunrises.”
Gartner said it isn’t uncommon for smoke, and even volcanic ash, to move across the country from the West once it hits the jet stream.
“It takes about 2-4 days for the smoke to travel here,” he said, “depending on the jet stream. This is nothing unusual. It happens every couple of years.”
Firefighters continue to battle enormous blazes in Oregon and California. According to The Associated Press, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire grew to “606 square miles – half the size of Rhode Island.” It is the largest wildfire in the country right now.
The eastern part of the country experienced similar hazy conditions last fall during Oregon’s worst fire season in recent memory.
Shelly Stallsmith is a trends reporter for the York Daily Record. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at @ShelStallsmith.