wildfire smoke ontario

Wildfire smoke from Western Canada brings hazy skies to Ontario

Hazy skies and dramatic red sunsets will be a common sight in Ontario this week, thanks to the almost 150 wildfires currently raging across Alberta and B.C. β€” a disaster that has forced tens of thousands from their homes in Western Canada.

Here in Ontario, the effects of the wildfires will prove far less destructive. Smoke from the infernos was lifted by southeasterly winds towards the country's rugged north, and strong winds in upper levels of the atmosphere have since begun transporting the smoke thousands of kilometres to the east over a wide region that includes Toronto.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has been monitoring the situation in Ontario, noting hazy conditions in northern and eastern Ontario on Monday, though no air quality warnings have been issued for the province as of Tuesday afternoon.

ECCC warned earlier today that the situation could change rapidly, stating that "Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour."

Despite the lack of warnings for Ontario, ECCC reminded the public that "Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone's health even at low concentrations."

Air quality may remain at a safe level as of Tuesday, however, smoke is most certainly in the air above the region. Satellite imagery shows the drifting plume blanketing the Great Lakes region, and photos of dramatic red sunsets have already begun to appear in Ontario and Quebec skies.

A real-time tracking map reveals that as of around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the worst-affected area of the province is a band that includes Ottawa, Brockville, and Cornwall. Toronto currently sits at the outer edge of a less-concentrated smoke plume, with areas of the GTA to the east likely to see more hazy skies than residents living in the western parts of the region.

Or course, that doesn't mean residents in southwestern Ontario will be spared from the haze. A photo captured from Port Colborne on Monday evening shows a hazy sunset caused by smoke particles in the air.

Another shot captured in the region shows a reddish sun descending above a residential neighbourhood.

These hues are the result of red light easily passing through smoke particles, while blue light is blocked, adding an otherworldly red glow to sunsets and sunrises.

Lead photo by


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