According to the scientists, the current wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington are “more severe” than the average fires in the United States in recent years. Earlier this week, they noticed smoke as far as northern Europe – also over the Netherlands – about 8,000 kilometers away. “The scale and intensity of these fires is much higher than we have measured in eighteen years, that is, since 2003,” said Mark Barrington, a Copernicus wildfire expert and scientist.
The US National Weather Service said yesterday that satellite imagery showed that some smoke had erupted eastward at high altitudes as it hung over New York and Washington. Based on math models and satellite imagery, Barrington predicts that more smoke will reach Europe later this week. “The fact that these forest fires generate so much smoke that it is still visible 8,000 kilometers away shows how devastating they are in terms of strength and duration.”
According to meteorologist Michel Severin from Weerplaza, smoke particles have no effect on our country at the moment. “It’s very thin and very few and very high in the air. At the beginning of the week, the weather is a little bit more and the sun can rise a little bit. Basically what you will see is that the sunrise and sunset are more colorful than usual,” says Severin.
It’s hard to predict whether we’re going to be bothered by moving smoke particles, says Joost Wesseling, an air quality researcher at RIVM. “In bushfires in Southeast Asia, the air quality up to central Australia can be so poor that people are advised to stay indoors or wear face masks,” says Wesling. “It depends on the atmosphere to what extent the very high layers of air in which the material is in will mix with the lower parts. It’s very rare to comment on it now. Sometimes you don’t expect it, but suddenly the effect can be seen.”