SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The historic wildfire outbreak in Northern California, Oregon and Washington state was generating massive plumes of carbon monoxide that have drifted all the way across the country to Chicago, New York and other cities, according to data collected from NASA satellites.
NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder aboard the Aqua satellite captured the carbon monoxide plumes over the last week. The images revealed the path of the plumes as they rode the winds eastward.
“Released by the fires along with smoke and ash, carbon monoxide is a pollutant that can persist in the atmosphere for about a month and can be transported great distances,” NASA said in a news release.
The National Weather Service in Boston tweeted of the cloudy skies predicted for Wednesday– “This is smoke lofted well aloft in the atmosphere emanating from the Western U.S. wildfires.”
Smoke from the western U.S. wildfires significantly dims the sun as viewed from the front yard of our office. The smoke is located about 25,000 to 30,000 feet above the ground. How does the sun look at your location? #pawx #njwx #dewx #mdwx pic.twitter.com/VyhTyqXbAn
— NWS Mount Holly (@NWS_MountHolly) September 15, 2020
If you looked up to the sky today, you may have seen a yellow or brown tinge. You were seeing smoke from the fires out W. This GOES-16 visible satellite shows smoke at 25,000 ft, as well as active fires and the busy tropics. We took a photo at our office to show the smoky sky. pic.twitter.com/tAgfomjNNC
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) September 15, 2020
Over 16,600 firefighters remain on the front lines of 25 major wildfires and two extended attack wildfires in California on Tuesday. The total acreage burned so far in the fires spanning over a little over a month is 2.8 million.
Since August 15, when California’s fire activity elevated, there have been 25 fatalities and over 4,200 structures destroyed.