Smoke from Canadian fires hanging heavy over Billings

2014-07-01T17:21:00Z 2014-07-02T09:15:07Z Smoke from Canadian fires hanging heavy over BillingsSEAN PLEMMONS splemmons@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

There’s a good reason why it’s hard to see the mountains from Billings recently.

Wildfires from the Northwest Territories of Canada are the cause of the haze obscuring views around the area the last few days.

Brian Tesar, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Billings, said smoke from the wildfires drifted into the airstream and now resides over the state of Montana.

“The wildfires from Canada ended up in the airflow directed toward our area of the state,” Tesar said.

It is not unusual for fires to affect visibility in July and August, Tesar said, but it’s unusual that wildfires from so far north in Canada would be affecting views here.

“Usually the haze is farther west in the state,” Tesar said. “The fires are far up in the Northwest Territories so it is not usually normal for the smoke to affect this area.”

Because of constantly changing airflow through the area, Tesar expects the smoke and haze from the fires to shift towards the Dakotas and Minnesota. He said views in the area should improve by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

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