Smoke from Canadian wildfires tinges air in Bermuda
Smoke from wildfires raging in Canada and choking parts of northeast United States has managed to reach the island, the Bermuda Weather Service has confirmed.
It was thick enough to show up on satellite imagery to the north of Bermuda from early on Wednesday, according to Michelle Pitcher, director of the BWS.
Dispersion into the atmosphere meant the haze was “not deemed hazardous”, as it has been elsewhere.
Close to 250 blazes were out of control in Canada as of midweek, with smoke billowing south over a swathe of the US.
It sent pollution readings higher on the East Coast, causing cancellations of public events in major cities such as Philadelphia and New York.
Images of strangely red sunsets shared on social media prompted speculation online that the island was seeing the effects.
Ms Pitcher confirmed the unusual colouring was caused by smoke in the atmosphere.
She said anything experienced in Bermuda paled in comparison with the US East Coast.
“The fires are that serious,” she added.
As of Thursday, the tracking site of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed heavy bands of smoke blanketing the East Coast, with an offshoot — designated “light” — extending over the Atlantic, including Bermuda.
The Royal Gazette understands that the island’s air quality monitoring run by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, which was shut down in 2022, has yet to come back online.
Andrew Peters, an associate scientist at BIOS, said Thursday: “It’s certainly having wide-ranging effects. Smoke from those fires will be affecting visibility in the atmosphere.
“I don’t think it will lead to any level of concern in Bermuda. The health concern is from particulate matter. But it has caused changes in optics, with sunrise and sunset. The moonrise the other night was pink as well.”
Fallout from the blazes led to New York City on Wednesday measuring its highest-ever level of air pollution from tiny soot particles.
Record-setting wildfires raging across Canada began in March, but have surged this month in provinces including Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.