Montreal

Yes, the haziness in the Quebec sky is smoke from the West Coast wildfires

Smoke from the massive, raging wildfires on the West Coast has blown more than 4,600 kilometres east, giving the Quebec sky a milky, hazy appearance. 

Environment Canada says the smoke is high enough in the atmosphere that it won't affect air quality

Many Quebecers woke up on Tuesday to discover a strange, smoggy sky. (Submitted by Kevin Iaboni)

Smoke from the massive, raging wildfires on the West Coast has blown more than 4,600 kilometres east, giving the Quebec sky a milky, hazy appearance. 

"[The fires] are so far away, but that gives us an impression of how bad it is," said Simon Legault, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Winds from the west are expected to continue to blow the smoke eastward, Legault said. Even the most eastern points of Quebec will likely be able to see the smoke. 

The good news — if you can call it that — is that the smoke is unlikely to affect the air quality in the province.The smoke and ash are in the higher layers of the atmosphere, Legault said, meaning it should not affect the air we breathe.

He said rain is expected later this week which could wash away the ash. However, if the fires keep raging then the sky may once again fill with smoke.

The fires in Oregon, Washington and California have burned more than 18,000 square kilometres. Though climate change did not ignite the fires, it amplifies the risk of conditions that help fire grow and spread.

Phoebe Baumgarten says seeing the sky outside her Beaconsfield, Que. home on Tuesday left her emotional.

She's lived in the area for most of her life and recognized that the sun didn't look quite right. It was the shade of a sunset, but it was high in the sky.

"It's just, you know, waking up and having climate change on our doorstep," she said.

"I'm hoping it provides us with a wake-up call. In some ways, I find it hopeful, in that maybe this is going to start triggering more people to really believe that climate change is the thing that we all need to act on." 

The smoke is visible in all five provinces to the west of Quebec. In British Columbia, the air is so thick with smoke that mail delivery was suspended in several regions on Monday.
 

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