West Coast wildfire smoke has crossed the Atlantic, now reaches Finland


This image from the World Meteorological Organization shows smoke from wildfires in the U.S. reaching Europe.

SAN FRANCISCO (NEXSTAR) – You may not be able to travel to Europe, but the smoke in our atmosphere has no problem getting there.

Particles from raging wildfires in Oregon, California, and Washington have deteriorated air quality for millions of Americans, but the World Meteorological Organization says the impacts from the fires have drifted all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

A map image tweeted early Monday shows particulate matter that spanned nearly the entire United States last week now stretching across the southern end of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the upper reaches of the United Kingdom.

Last week, NASA projections showed particulate matter from the smoke drifting across nearly every one of the continental United States. As with those impacts, the smoke particles reaching Europe may not be perceptible to people on the ground.

Portland, San Francisco and Seattle have seen air quality improvement over the last week as the weather pattern has pushed wildfire smoke east. Millions in the west had suffered under unhealthy and often hazardous conditions since a series of lightning-fueled fires broke out in August and were compounded early this month by devastating fires in Oregon and Washington.

As of Monday, the Bobcat Fire near California’s Mojave Desert was perhaps the most active fire scene. That blaze had burned over 165 square miles, making it one of the largest fires ever in Los Angeles County.

The region has now entered the peak weeks of the traditional fire season. California has already seen several of its largest wildfires on record this year.

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