Over southern Europe, smoke from wildfires burning in the Canadian province of Quebec has been obstructing the sky for days.
Wildfire smoke is formed from gases and tiny fragments from burning plants, construction materials, and other objects. It can affect anyone if inhaled, which is why it is crucial to check the air quality before heading outside.
According to NASA satellite pictures released on June 26, the smoke and ash cloud from the Quebec province extends thousands of kilometers into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere, or IPMA, reports that the vast band of smoke began to move towards the Azores islands on June 25 and reached western Europe on June 26. Also suffering greatly from the haze are Spain, France, and other northern nations.
Per climate authorities, the smoke that has reached Europe appears to be hanging higher in the air, at 1,100 meters and above, than the low-lying smoke that caused hazardous air quality alerts in the United States earlier this month.
As reported by French broadcaster La Chaîne Météo, the number of ash particles in the air is predicted to peak on June 28.
The United Kingdom Met Office, the national weather service, believes that even though the smoke is high in the atmosphere, it might provide some striking sunrises and sunsets over the following several days.
Although the air quality in Europe may not be impacted, residents of Quebec and other provinces closest to the flames must contend with smoke.
According to the government agency Environment Canada, air quality advisories were in place for more than 140 regions as of June 27.
Wildfires in Canada are a disturbing trend, as the warm and dry weather will probably cause "higher-than-normal fire activity across most of the country throughout the 2023 season."
The beginning of the country's wildfire season, according to Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, is "unprecedented."
There is currently no indication of a break in the fires, and according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, approximately 500 wildfires are burning throughout Canada, and 258 of those are out of control. The number is an increase from the roughly 450 flames that were raging in mid-June.
Depending on the wind and other factors, the smoke has also consistently presented a concern to residents of the far northeastern United States. Although no advisories are in force, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality notice for June 25.
Smoke from wildfires can bring various complications, including chest pain, coughing, runny nose, and shortness of breath; thus, it is critical to remain safe and indoors when advised.
Fires in Quebec continue to burn — 75 fires in total.