Chicagoans aren’t feeling the effects of wildfires in the U.S., but they are seeing them.
Hazy skies and unusually colorful sunsets in the area are due to smoke in the atmosphere that is spreading over the Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.
There are 80 large wildfires currently raging in 13 states, including hard-hit Oregon, California and Idaho. More than 1.1 million acres have burned, with Oregon’s Bootleg fire the most destructive, having torched more than 300,000 acres and only 25% contained, the National Interagency Fire Center is reporting.
So far this year, the NIFC has recorded more than 35,000 fires, burning more than 2.5 million acres. That’s slightly above the 10-year average in terms of the number of fires for the same time period, but below the amount of acreage burned.
The area’s hazy skies will stick around at least for a few days, the weather service said.
The hazy sky this morning is a result of smoke from wildfires in the western U.S. & southern Canada spreading out over much of the Midwest (note the milky white color over us on satellite imagery). The smoke and hazy skies will likely stick around for at least the next few days. pic.twitter.com/YD3KCnE38z
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) July 19, 2021