Freeport, Illinois — August 31, 2017 — With reports from Crystal Lake, Dekalb, Rockford, Lake and McHenry County among many other cities, people all over the northern Illinois region are witnessing smokey skies today as a result of the Canadian wildfires.
The fires are burning across British Columbia, where, according to reports, there are more than 100 active wildfires, making it the worst fire season in the history of the province. Smoke from wildfires in western Canada have been pulled south due to a cold front that pushed through Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service’s Milwaukee center.
The smoke, haze and smell is being experienced all throughout the Upper Midwest, such as Wisconsin and Michigan. Amy Seeley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago center said to expect the smoke to stick around the area through the remainder of Thursday.
Canadian Wildfire Smoke Reaches Freeport, Illinois.
Posted by Today In The Port on Thursday, August 31, 2017
Canada has already had its share of wildfires this season and although it started slow, 2017 is shaping up to be a record breaking fire season if not for numbers of fires, then for the sheer amount of hectares burned. This year in British Columbia, over half a million hectares have burned since 1 April, and with 126 fires still burning, that number may keep growing before the snows come. With slow starts to milder winters, that might not be until December.
The smoke released by any type of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials, according to NASA. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter (PM or soot).
NASA says smoke can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins. The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.
Exposure to any type of smoke should be avoided if possible, but especially by those with respiratory issues, the elderly, and children. Residents with respiratory issues are advised to remain inside while the smoke is around.