Canadian wildfires to bring smoky haze to skies again

While Sunday’s weather forecast calls for hot temperatures, sunshine and clear skies, a haziness may also be noticeable.

Forecasters have noted ongoing wildfires in Canada are expected to bring a smoky haze to the skies of Massachusetts again. The haziness will be most noticeable in the afternoon and evening Sunday, according to meteorologists.

“You’ll notice a haze to the skies once again today as Canadian wildfire smoke drifts over the region. Coverage will peak during the late afternoon and early evening hours,” the National Weather Service said in a tweet. “Fortunately, this smoke remains elevated, posing no threat to us at the surface!”

This is not the first time Massachusetts has seen noticeably hazy skies caused by wildfires thousands of miles away. On May 9, the Canadian wildfires caused skies over New England to become hazy. The Weather Service said the south-moving smoke would cause lead to “opaque” skies and “make for a good sunset.”

Less recently, in 2020, massive and deadly wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state similarly caused the skies over Massachusetts to take on a murky color as high-density smokes traveled from one side of the country to the other.

The current haziness is caused by the active wildfires that have raged across western Canada for days. In Alberta, there were nine wildfires of note in its protected forest area Saturday morning, according to the province’s government. The blazes, which officials have deemed to be out of control, have been burning hundreds of thousands of hectares, a measurement of land. Firefighters are using helicopters and heavy equipment to try to bring the flames under control.

Earlier this month, Alberta declared a state of emergency as more than 110 wildfires burned through the province. As of Saturday morning, there were 53 blazes in the territory, 14 of which were out of control, according to the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.

In the province of Saskatchewan, there were 19 active fires Saturday morning, five of which are deemed “not contained,” meaning authorities are trying to extinguish them, but they are still expected to grow in size, according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s website.

A satellite image taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on May 10 showed significant smoke had spread east and southeast the previous several days from the wildfires in western Canada. The smoke, which was thick in spots and partially obscuring the sun, traveled across southeastern Canada, through portions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and offshore over the Atlantic Ocean.

“An expansive area that is the result of smoke from significant wildfire activity across northern and western Canada was observed blanketing much of Canada … and large areas of the North Atlantic,” the NOAA said in a statement. “Moderate density smoke was detected in a thin stripe off the northeast U.S.”

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