There are more than 560 fires burning in British Columbia! As a result, a clockwise jet stream shooting up over those fires and then curving back down through central Canada is delivering another layer of high-altitude smoke over Minnesota today, with the worst conditions expected to be north of the Twin Cities. This occurred a little more than a week ago as well.
[Updated 12:12 p.m.] Total number of fires in B.C. may be closer to 540, according to the most recent Canadian National Wildland Fire Situation Report. Canada has recorded 5,955 fires so far this year, which have burned 1,183,358 hectare (one hectare is about 2.5 football fields). In the last week alone there were 345 new fires, with 70 percent caused by lightening.
Putting this into perspective: while most of our news coverage of fires in the United States has focused on California, there are only 12 fires currently burning there. The key difference of course is that California’s fires are closer to more densely populated areas. But Canada’s fires are significantly affecting Minnesota’s climate (temperature in the Twin Cities is about 5 degrees cooler than forecast as of midday due to the high-altitude smoke) and air quality. And this is at least the third time it’s occurred this summer.