Smoke from West Coast fires leaves haze in Baltimore

Smoke from the historic wildfires ravaging the West Coast has reached the Baltimore area, contributing to cooler temperatures and hazy skies Tuesday, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The thick smoke traveled through the jet stream to the East Coast and is sitting above 15,000 feet in the air, blocking out sunlight, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast. The temperatures in the area should be in the upper 60s and lower 70s Tuesday, according to the forecast, and the smoke is not expected to significantly prevent normal cooling at night.


However, the smoke could linger for up to a few days, NWS meteorologist Brian LaSorfa said.

The traveling smoke has reached other areas, including New York and the Midwest, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


The wildfires raging in California, Oregon and Washington have left at least 35 dead as of Monday and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate. California’s August Complex fire, currently blazing in Northern California, has burned the most acres of any fire in California history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Because the smoke is sitting so high, it hasn’t posed a risk to Baltimore’s air quality, leaving the Air Quality Index in Code “Green,” meaning “good,” NWS meteorologist Brian LaSorfa said.

The smoke blocks out the sunshine, rendering it less bright than normal, LaSorfa explained. It blocks the sun in a similar way to how clouds normally do, although not necessarily to the same extent, as clouds are usually thicker, LaSorfa added.

The smoke could also make for more red and orange in the sky at sunrise and sunset, LaSorfa said, since the sunlight reflects off more particles due to the smoke.

LaSorfa wasn’t sure how long it took the smoke to travel all the way across the country, but noted that winds above the Baltimore area are generally in the 17 to 23 miles per hour range.