Watch CBS News

Wildfire smoke from West Coast has spread to Washington, D.C.

Smoke from Western wildfires hits New York City
Smoke from Western wildfires reaches to New York City 02:22

Smoke from wildfires in the West has spread all the way to Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports the smoke could be seen at the National Mall on Monday morning.

Images of the hazy sky and bright orange sun were captured by WUSA reporter Mike Valerio. "NWS says this is smoke caught in the jet stream and moving overhead at about 20,000 to 25,000 feet," he tweeted Monday.

The National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington tweeted satellite images of the smoke moving over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

"This smoke is obscuring the sun, and will keep temperatures a few degrees cooler today than what would be observed if the smoke was not present," NWS Baltimore-Washington said Tuesday.

It later said a cross-section of the air above us showed the concentration of smoke between 15,000 and 25,000 feet, "which is why we largely can't smell the smoke at the surface."

People in Chicago also posted photos of a milky sky and glowing sun when the smoke reached the Midwest this week. NWS Chicago said in a tweet that the smoke was expected to remain aloft, so no impacts to the weather were expected. However, the smoke will keep the sky hazy into mid-week, according to NWS Chicago.

The images mirror those out of California, where wildfires are creating a thick smoke that's so hazardous, Governor Gavin Newsom compared it to smoking 400 cigarettes a day. Portland, Seattle and San Francisco now rank among the top five cities for the worst air quality in the world.

At least 35 people have been confirmed dead as dozens of major fires wreak havoc on the West Coast. In one of the hardest hit areas, Berry Creek, California, 14 people were killed and seven more remain missing. 

On Sunday, a satellite image posted by the Oregon & Washington Bureau of Land Management showed the smoke covered most of the states between the Pacific Northwest and Michigan. 

Wildfire smoke traveling extremely long distances is not unheard of. In January, NASA said the wildfires in Australia caused "unprecedented" conditions that would affect the entire world. The space agency released satellite images showing smoke from the fires moving around the globe.

The smoke was expected "to make at least one full circuit around the globe, returning once again to the skies over Australia," Colin Seftor and Rob Gutro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said at the time. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.