Smoke from wildfires blankets Pittsburgh and many parts of the Northeast | News | Pittsburgh

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CP photo: Darya Kharabi

The sun seen through hazy smoke above Pittsburgh

From July 19, a gray haze enveloped Pittsburgh, leading to an eerie red sun throughout the afternoon and evening. On July 20, this haze continued to spread over Pittsburgh and even spread to many areas of the northeastern United States. According to meteorologists, the haze is forest fire smoke from the western United States and Canada.

“The skies are hazy with smoke from the wildfires coming in from Canada,” the National Weather Service Pittsburgh account tweeted on July 19.

Fires in Canada are not the only reason smoke has spread thousands of kilometers across North America. According to a press release from weather media company AccuWeather, nearly 120 wildfires were burning in the western United States as of July 19. At least 60 of them were considered important and uncontrolled, according to the US Forest Service.

“Due to the fact that smoke particles are small and light, they can be carried hundreds or even a few thousand kilometers from their source,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex DaSilva in a press release.

As a result, the Pittsburgh area received a Code Orange air quality alert for July 20. This means that the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups of people, including people with respiratory problems like asthma or emphysema, or the elderly. Usually, poor air quality in Pittsburgh is caused by temperature inversions that trap industrial pollutants near the surface. But wildfires from remote areas are the main culprit this time around.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection encourages people to avoid using fireplaces for wood stoves or gas-powered lawn and garden equipment during Air Quality Days .

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