Gaze upon the distant mountains and rolling terrain in the northern region of the Yellowhammer State, and you will see a dense haziness shrouding the foothills of lower Appalachia.
Smoke from forest fires in the western portion of the United States has made its way to the southeastern region of the country. Satellite imagery provided by NASA Earth Observatory showed North Alabama last week held some of the most dense levels of black carbon particulates, commonly referred to as soot.
High concentration of black carbon particulates under the right conditions make for picturesque sunsets, but may be harmful to those who suffer from asthma and similar serious respiratory conditions.
NASA released data showing that the Air Quality Index had risen to the status of “Unhealthy,” indicating that members of sensitive health groups could begin to experience adverse effects.
“Data from NASA’s Micro-Pulse Lidar Network (MPLNET) and Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) indicated that a significant amount of smoke was hovering between the land surface and 2 kilometers (1 mile) altitude,” stated NASA’s publishing outlet. “Haze darkened skies and reddened sunsets, unleashed a rash of code red and orange air quality warnings, and even left the scent of smoke in the air in some areas.”
Many Tennessee Valley residents may view the atmospheric conditions as being similar to the visible layers of dust cloud hovering over the landscape mid-last year from North Africa’s Sahara Desert.
Currently, the nation’s largest wildfire raging across the western region of the United States is in southern Oregon. According to CNN, the fire is nearing 50% containment as of late Sunday night. Additional smoke can be attributed to a massive fire in the Canadian Province of British Columbia, near the U.S. border.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News