Only the area in Northern California where wildfires are raging had worse air quality than New England on Monday evening, while much of the country was blanketed in smoke from a series of fires across western sections of the United States and Canada, two interactive maps show.
The air quality was classified as “unhealthy” across a large band stretching across Eastern New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Southeastern Maine as of about 10 p.m. according to an interactive map from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The air was also rated unhealthy in parts of Montana, Washington, and Northern California, where wildfires are burning.
Only a small area within the unhealthy air quality area in Northern California — where two wildfires merged over the weekend — has worse ratings, with one spot classified “very unhealthy” and a smaller area within that range considered “hazardous,” according to the map.
The fires covered New England and much of the continental United States in smoke Monday evening, according to an interactive map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The online map, updated around 10:45 p.m., showed Boston and vast swaths of New England covered by some of the thickest smoke. There was at least light smoke across all of Southern Canada and spreading through the 48 continuous US states except for New Mexico, which appeared to be untouched, while neighboring Arizona had light smoke along its borders.
Heavy smoke engulfed much of Oregon and Northern California, where fires are burning, and long bands of heavy smoke stretched west to east from the Vancouver area in Canada and from Montana, where more wildfires rage.
In Northern California, the massive Dixie Fire merged with the smaller Fly Fire over the weekend and tore through the remote community of Indian Falls. Meanwhile, the nation’s largest wildfire, the lightning-ignited Bootleg Fire, continued to rage in southern Oregon.
In Central Montana, crews were trying to keep the 10-square-mile Devil’s Creek Fire from reaching Fort Peck Reservoir along the Missouri River.
Earlier Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality alert warning the blazes on the other side of the country could render the air “unhealthy” for people with certain medical conditions.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.