Is Canada behind the orange-like haze above the DC region?

Noticing an orange-like smoky haze in the skies above D.C. area? Blame Canada.

Western wildfires roughly 2,500 miles away in Alberta continue to seep smoke into the upper levels of the atmosphere, which then travel the jet stream east toward the D.C. region.

While the smoke affects the appearance of the sky, it is not expected to substantially impact air quality in the national capital region, according to 7News First Alert Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff.

“At this point, (the smoke) remains high enough above that it shouldn’t be an issue for us,” van de Graaff said, referring to Thursday and Friday.

He said the current air quality in the D.C. area is “green,” meaning good — with a forecast of good to moderate Thursday afternoon.

The situation could change if the smoke in the upper levels of the atmosphere is forced down to the surface. “On those days, that’s when you can actually smell the smoke. … It’s the particulate matter; that small, fine particles in the air that could be dangerous to those with respiratory ailments,” van de Graaff said.

There are 91 wildfires burning in Alberta, 27 of them are out of control, according to WTOP’s news partner, CBS News.


THURSDAY: Mostly sunny. Winds blowing 5-10 mph. Highs near 70.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with low winds. Lows in the low to mid 50s.

FRIDAY: Morning clouds with afternoon sun. Winds in 5-10 mph. Highs in the low 70s.

SATURDAY: Partly to mostly cloudy; scattered light PM showers. Highs in the mid to high 70s.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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