Canada Wildfires, Smoke That Clouded US Skies Last Summer, Back, Heading South

Canada Wildfires, Smoke That Clouded US Skies Last Summer, Back, Heading South

An aerial view shows New York City in a haze-filled sky from the Empire State Building observatory, Wednesday, June. 7, 2023, in New York. Smoke from Canadian wildfires poured into the U.S. East Coast and Midwest on Wednesday, covering cities of both nations in an unhealthy haze, holding up flights at major airports and prompting people to fish out pandemic-era face masks. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Wildfires have returned to Canada, with the billowing smoke forcing thousands from their homes and raising the alarm about poor air quality in the United States.

The blaze started Friday in northeast British Columbia and almost doubled in size by the start of the weekend, smoldering just a few miles outside Fort Nelson’s city limits. By Sunday, the fire had reached over 13,500 acres.

Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson Indian Reserve have a combined population of about 3,000 people, most of whom have been evacuated according to municipality mayor Rob Frayer.

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Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows smoke beginning to drift into the U.S., with light to medium coverage in Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota.

The developments have triggered concern about a potential repeat of Canada’s 2023 wildfire season, which was the most destructive in the country’s history.

Over 6,500 fires burnt nearly 71,000 square miles of land from the West Coast to the Atlantic provinces, and a blanket of smog covered New York City for a three-day period last June, turning the iconic skyline orange.