NASA image shows “pretty remarkable” line of dense smoke across North America, as large areas of forest burn
By Megan Darby
Smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Alaska and northern Canada is drifting as far south as Texas, NASA images show.
The monitoring service described the long, dense plume of smoke as “pretty remarkable”.
According to Alaska’s forestry service, 2015 already ranks as one of the top 5 wildfire seasons on record, with nearly 5 million acres burned.
A recent report by Climate Central found the region’s wildfire season had expanded 40% since the 1940s, with longer, hotter and drier summers.
This map from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center helps put Alaska’s wildland fire situation in perspective. pic.twitter.com/gQx8g2wkNs
— AK Forestry (@AK_Forestry) June 24, 2015
Canadian forest monitors counted more than 5,000 fires covering more than 3 million hectares (8m acres) by 15 July this year.
By area, that is more than double the 10-year average.
It states: “The National Preparedness Level continues to be at level 5, with several provinces/territories experiencing major incidents which may exhaust all national fire resources.”
Wildfire risk is increasing across western America with human-caused climate change, according to the US National Climate Assessment.
That in turn releases more carbon dioxide from forests and tundra, contributing to the greenhouse effect.