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'Unprecedented' Haze From California, West Coast Wildfires Prompt Air Quality Concerns In New York

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The smoke from numerous wildfires burning in California and the West Coast are leading to hazy skies and prompting air quality concerns nearly 3,000 miles away in New York City.

"Smoke and haze from the wildfires in the western U.S. can be seen drifting southeast across the Tri-State area in this satellite imagery. This will filter the sunshine here throughout the day today," the New York bureau of the National Weather Service announced Tuesday.

Officials in the state of New York issued an air quality health advisory for the entire state Tuesday, citing concerns over fine particulate matter from the wildfires. The advisory is in effect through midnight.

At Montclair State University in New Jersey, the Manhattan skyline is typically visible on a clear day. On Tuesday, one could barely see one town over.

"You can pretty much always see the skyline, at least a silhouette, if it's a hazy day. This is unprecedented," George Pope, professor of earth and environmental studies at the school told CBS New York.

"I think it's unusual to have this kind of haze. I don't recall seeing this kind of thing," Pope said.

Boats pass by a hazy Statue of Liberty, seen from Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 20, 2021 as New York officials issue a air quality health advisory due to the west coast wildfires. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Among the West Coast wildfires causing massive amounts of smoke include the Dixie Fire in Plumas County, which has grown to nearly 60,000 acres (93.75 square miles) as of Tuesday. The fire is only 15% contained.

In the Sierra, the Tamarack Fire near Lake Tahoe has grown to more than 39,000 acres since it started last Friday. Officials said the fire is not contained.

Meanwhile in neighboring Oregon, the Bootleg Fire continues to rage. As of Tuesday, the massive wildfire that started July 6 has burned more than 388,000 acres (606 square miles), an area twice the size of New York City. It is 30% contained.

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