As the North American summer fire season continued to rage unabated in mid-July, 2013, smoke from the dozens of large fires continued to pour across the Atlantic Ocean. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on July 17 as it passed over the region.
A broad river of smoke blows across northern Quebec, Canada (which is mostly obscured from view by a bank of bright white clouds), and then arcs southwest over the Gulf of St. Lawrence between Nova Scotia (west) and Newfoundland (east). Shifting high-level winds offshore then blow a thick gray plume east and southeast across the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In this image, clouds, which are more reflective, are bright white and smoke appears a dull white to dark gray color. Most of this smoke likely comes from the Canadian wildfires, although those burning in the United States may also contribute to some degree.
On July 17, Natural Resources Canada reported 222 new fires in the previous week, burning 375,669 ha of land. Fires were burning throughout Western and Central Canada, and Quebec alone accounted for about half of the area burned. The number of forest fires was reportedly below average for this time of year, while the weekly area burned is well above the 10-year average. Large fires also continued to burn in California, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Oregon.