West Coast wildfire smoke has crossed the Atlantic, now reaches Finland

Wildfires, Droughts, Pandemics. Is this Our Future? How to Build a Safer World

Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires jump Interstate 80 in Vacaville, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The highway was closed in both directions shortly afterward. Fire crews across the region scrambled to contain dozens of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes as a statewide heat wave continues. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Imagine Massachusetts on fire, literally the entire state engulfed in flames. That is how much land has already been ravaged—at least 5 million acres—in the wildfires of California, Washington and Oregon. Put another way, in just a few weeks these fires have burned as much land as was destroyed by a decade of using napalm and Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. With temperatures over 100°F, toxic air now blankets tens of millions of people, power outages have afflicted vast regions, and dozens have already died from the blazes.

Air quality in West Coast cities has ranked among the world’s worst, with Portland’s air at points being almost three times more unhealthy than in notoriously polluted cities like New Delhi. The scenes of red skies out of America’s West have an unreal quality to them, as if they come from a different planet. In a sense they do—they are portents of the future…

West Coast wildfire smoke has crossed the Atlantic, now reaches Finland

You may not be able to travel to Europe, but the smoke in our atmosphere has no problem getting there.

Particles from raging wildfires in Oregon, California, and Washington have deteriorated air quality for millions of Americans, but the World Meteorological Organization says the impacts from the fires have drifted all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

A map image tweeted early Monday shows particulate matter that spanned nearly the entire United States last week now stretching across the southern end of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the upper reaches of the United Kingdom…

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