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West Coast Wildfires Lead To Hazy Eastern Skies, That’s Not The Worst Part

As the Western seaboard continues to be ravaged by wildfires, winds sweeping the smoke particles have been stretching across Canada.

The Takeaway:  The West Coast wildfires are emitting a smokey haze now visible across the eastern seaboard and Europe. This disastrous event will have a lasting global effect, expert says.


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An abnormally long and red sunrise peaked across the Greater Toronto Area skyline on Tuesday morning, creating a haze spreading from the wildfires plaguing the United States West Coast.

  • The smoke will reportedly not affect the air quality index in Ontario and Quebec, but the ominous smog is yet another visible impact of our global environmental crisis.

“There is no debate in the science community, it’s clear that increased frequency and length of fire season… all these are related to climate change impacts.”

Tim Gray, the executive director of Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence is an organization working for more than 35 years on critical environmental issues that impact those living in Canada. They focus on five key issues— toxins, plastics, climate, great lakes and responsible land use in Southern Ontario.

  • “The smoke that we’re seeing over the GTA and eastern parts of North America is generally smoke from the wildfires in California and Oregon,” said Gray.

The pure reach of the smoke is likely to have alarmed citizens of Ontario and Quebec. “This gives you an idea in terms of scale. The smoke is going up into the outer atmosphere and being transported very long distances,” said Gray. “This is going to be a global Northern Hemisphere phenomenon.”

  • Today, the smoke reportedly has been visible in Northern Europe.

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Although the air quality remains normal, temperatures in southern Ontario have been affected by the smoke.

“The sun actually dimmed…We are likely to see the increased risk of an early frost because we’re just not getting the warmth during the day,” said Gray. He compares the subdued light to what is normally witnessed in winter months.

Temperature changes and haze are the immediate impacts. The wildfires smoke is additionally releasing brown carbon into the atmosphere, which will have long-term climate impacts. Both realized, such as localized cooling or heating, and effects that have not been discovered or understood yet.


The Bottom Line:

As younger generations attempt to treat our growing issues with climate depression, this information may be hard to retain. It’s tempting to pay less attention to our global climate crisis and focus on our immediate surroundings, especially as our rapidly warming eco-system is not the only global emergency affecting our everyday lives. Yet Gray says “that’s the worst thing we could all do.”

Gray reinforces staying engaged. By choosing solutions-focused ways in our day-to-day activities that have a beneficial impact on our environment, such as deciding what kind of car you drive to buy a lot less disposable plastic. Said Gray, “You do need to figure out ways to remain engaged and active, and more so than ever, remain hopeful.”


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