California wildfires send waves of smoke, particulates as far as Canada


Smoke from wildfires raging in Northern California has reached far beyond the state’s borders to affect Utah, Michigan and even Canada, according to NASA.

The fires, including the massive King fire in Eldorado National Forest, have been sending large amounts of smoke and particulate matter into the sky, prompting waves of air quality warnings and several outdoor events, including an Ironman triathlon, to be canceled.

But recent ozone mapping by NASA shows just how far the smoke plume has reached, having wafted into the airspace of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.


Smoke has also been detected in Canada, according to NASA’s Ozone Science Team at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Firefighters are still battling six major wildfires in Northern California, which has scorched nearly 275,000 acres combined. The largest fire -- the 131,996-acre Happy Camp Complex -- is 85% contained. Behind that blaze is the devastating King fire, which has burned 87,592 acres.

Last week, the National Weather Service reported that the column of smoke coming from the King fire was roughly the length of Illinois, Colorado and some East Coast states.

The King wildfire grew overnight and was just 18% contained as of early Monday. It has destroyed 10 homes and 22 minor structures. It also continues to threaten 12,000 homes and 9,000 other minor structures. A 37-year-old local resident was arrested last week on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire.

Hazardous levels of fine particulate matter in Colfax and Foresthill prompted Placer County health officials Monday to recommend the closure of schools in the area. The move comes a day after an Ironman triathlon in the Tahoe Basin was canceled due to poor air quality.

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