The Bulletin Board

Smoke advisory related to Western wildfires in effect for New Hampshire

By: - July 20, 2021 5:26 pm
Rolling green fields beneath a smoky sky

Smoke from Western wildfires dulls the sky over rolling fields in the Upper Valley on Tuesday afternoon. (Amanda Gokee | New Hampshire Bulletin)

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has declared a smoke advisory as of Tuesday afternoon. The smoke traveled across the country from wildfires burning in 13 Western states and in Canada.

Smoke plumes are visible throughout the Northeast, and the plumes carry with them particulates at levels “that could cause respiratory health effects for sensitive individuals,” according to the advisory released by the Department of Environmental Services. 

Children and older adults may be sensitive to the levels of particulates in the air, as well as anyone with lung or heart disease.

The BBC reported that the area burning in Oregon on Tuesday afternoon was 364,000 acres. It is the largest active fire in the United States and one of the biggest in the state’s history. There are about 2,000 firefighters currently working to extinguish the blaze, called the “Bootleg fire.”

The fire started burning on July 6, and since that time has burned an area roughly the size of Sullivan County in New Hampshire.

Active wildfires in the West have burned nearly 1.3 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. There have been 35,319 fires so far this year, as compared to 29,207 by this date last year. Those fires have burned nearly 2.6 million acres in total, up from 1.76 million last year.

New Hampshire’s advisory is in effect through Wednesday morning, when winds are expected to move the smoke plumes away. Rain can also help improve the air quality.   

Other states have put out air quality alerts, including Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.