First Alert Weather In Depth: Wildfire smoke set to make a return

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — So far this Summer, we have been very wet, generally cool, and skies have been hazy due to the Canadian wildfires.

After a break from the hazy skies for a bit, we are getting ready to track the smoke again as it returns as early as Wednesday evening. Before we jump into the wildfire smoke and how long it might stick around, let’s give a quick update on what is going on in Canada. As of Wednesday morning, there are currently over 1000 active fires with more than 600 of those burning out of control. Thus far to date there has been about 32 million acres burned, which is roughly the size of the state of Louisiana. Lately, the wildfire smoke has been absent from our region as the upper level winds have not been blowing it towards our direction, but this will change as early as Wednesday night.

The upper level winds about 7,500 feet above the surface will have a northwesterly wind component stretching from the western part of Canada and into our region from Wednesday evening through much of next week. This does not mean that every single day the wildfire smoke will affect our air quality, but this will be something to keep in mind when we forecast. As of Wednesday afternoon, the greatest chance for effects to our air quality will be Thursday afternoon and evening yet serious impacts are not in the forecast. As far as through this weekend, besides Thursday afternoon not much of an impact to our air quality besides hazy skies are expected through Sunday.

However, with that northwesterly wind component through much of next week, we may deal with brief bouts of wildfire smoke near the surface. We will keep you updated.