Western wildfire smoke, heat dome may worsen air quality in East

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(CNN) - Meteorologists are predicting another heat dome this week may bring more scorching temperatures to much of the U.S., potentially worsening air quality as smoke and haze from western wildfires continues to spread into the East Coast.

So, what’s causing smoke to travel that far, and what can you do to protect yourself?

Hazy and smoky skies are creating poor air quality on the East Coast.

Dozens of large wildfires burning in the West are to blame, generating massive plumes of smoke so large they’re visible from space.

”When air is warmer than the air around it, it will rise, and when you have a wildfire, it’ll carry smoke with it. And once it gets to the higher levels of the atmosphere where the winds are stronger, that can be carried relatively far downstream,” said Alex Lamers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service said particulate matter in all that smoke is generating harmful health effects for people thousands of miles away.

For several days, states were trapped in a smoky haze, from Philadelphia, New York and even Maine.

Some states are issuing air quality warnings, urging people to take precautions as meteorologists warn of a heat dome potentially worsening the already dangerous conditions.

“Any additional heat waves would not be good news,” Lamers said.

Experts said unhealthy air conditions could impact people with heart or breathing issues or anyone doing heavy labor or exercise outdoors.

”Particle pollution has been found to impact people’s heart and people’s lungs. They’re very small particles ,and they can not only reach people’s lungs but they can cross into the bloodstream,” said Martha Webster of the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection.

Pulmonologists recommend you check daily air pollution forecasts in your area and avoid exercising outdoors.

“Even short term Blips have the potential to increase heart attacks, asthma attacks.” Pulmonologist Dr. David Ingbar said.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.