Russian smoke darkens Alaskan skies



Alaskans experienced brownish skies during the day and spectacular red sunsets in the evening last week because of smoke jet-streaming across the Bering Sea from fires in Siberia and elsewhere in Russia.

The thick, high-altitude haze covered most of Alaska because the smoke particles were very small, causing them to stay aloft longer.

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires in southern and eastern Russia have raised gigantic plumes of smoke that drift with the jet stream across the Bering Sea and over Alaska and western Canada.

“It’s a very, very thick haze,” Glenn Shaw, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks told the Anchorage Daily News. “The sun is barely casting a shadow.”

Fires are burning forest and grassland in six territories and regions along Russia’s border with China and eastward into the Kamchatka Peninsula. In one region alone, 61 fires have burned about 250,000 acres. Smoke has engulfed parts of China’s Inner Mongolia, reducing visibility in one city to little more than half a mile. Some 645 fires are burning.

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