Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wildfire Smoke & Air Quality Maps

The devastating wildfires burning in western Canada and the northwestern USA are contributing to poor air quality conditions, sparking air quality advisories throughout British Columbia and the northwestern United States.

You can view the extent of the smoke across north America on NOAA's Smoke Forecast map. NOAA's High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Smoke Interactive map identifies locations with intense fires and forecasts how smoke is likely to disperse based on the latest weather forecasts. The smoke forecast map is experimental. It is prone to errors from cloud cover preventing satellite detection of wildfires and to errors weather forecasts.

You can check the latest satellite imagery for yourself on NASA's Fire and Smoke website. Fire and Smoke is a collection of satellite images revealing wildfire and smoke cover around the world. NASA's Fire and smoke page also links to NOAA's latest fire outlook forecast.

The effect of all the wildfires in America can be clearly seen in PurpleAir's interactive map of air pollution. PurpleAir uses the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index (AQI) scale to show air pollution across North America. At the moment the PurpleAir map shows the effect of wildfire smoke on the air quality of British Columbia and all along the U.S. West Coast.

You can find where the National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts on their Watches, Warnings & Advisories page. You can also check the National Weather Service's Air Quality Forecast Guidance, which provides ozone, particulate matter and other pollutant forecasts.

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