Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest

Climate & Environment
Smoke from US wildfires has reached Europe, satellite images reveal
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the United States on Sep. 15, 2020, showing the fires in the West, the smoke from those fires drifting over the country, several hurricanes converging from different angles, and Hurricane Sally making landfall.
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the United States on Sep. 15, 2020, showing the fires in the West, the smoke from those fires drifting over the country, several hurricanes converging from different angles, and Hurricane Sally making landfall. Credit: NASA

According to scientists from the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, smoke from the wildfires in the western United States has travelled 8,000 kilometres and reached Britain and other parts of northern Europe.

Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Service has stated that "the scale and magnitude of these fires are at a level much higher than in any of the 18 years that our monitoring data covers, since 2003".

Politics • American • US
Biden calls Trump a "Climate Arsonist", after Trump rejects science
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires.
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires. Credit: unsplash.com/MILKOVÍ

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called President Trump a "climate arsonist" after the president's California visit where he rejected science and blamed the wildfires ravaging the Pacific West on poor forest management and untamed vegetation, not on climate change.

"If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?" Biden asked. "How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"

Climate & Environment
Doctors warn that air pollution caused by wildfires could worsen Covid-19 risk
Smoke from Oregon wildfires
Smoke from Oregon wildfires Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

Studies conducted in the US, China and Italy have shown that smoke and air pollution could increase susceptibility to viral infections as the smoke irritates lungs, can cause inflammation and affect the immune system.

Now, with wildfires ravaging the Pacific Northwest, doctors warn that the smoke caused by the fires could make people more susceptible to Covid-19.

"Multiple studies have shown a correlation between higher levels of pollution in the air and greater spread and severity of Covid-19 cases," so Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

Climate & Environment
Half a million people flee Oregon to escape wildfires
Oregon Wildfires, 2018
Oregon Wildfires, 2018 Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20180811-FS-Rogue-KG-1068_(30465240178).jpg

Over half a million people – or 10+% of the state's population – are fleeing Oregon to escape the wildfires that have been raging across the Pacific Northwest.

Governor Kate Brown (D) told reporters that this most likely wasn't a "one-time event" and that the current situation was a "bellwether for the future" of "acute impacts of climate change." Brown has reported that at least four people have died, including a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother.