Alberta, Canada is burning. Dry conditions for over year have contributed to the wildfires raging around Fort McMurray, a city of 80,000 people, in the middle of forests and oil sands.
The wildfires can be seen from space. Here is a picture from NASA Suomi satellite---
Smoke from the fires has been detected over most of the continental US, as far south as Florida and the Gulf coast.
The wildfires are so intense, they can make their own weather, in the form of pyrocumulus clouds, or fire clouds. Ash from the fires contributes to thunderstorms and lightning, which can ignite more fires! You can read more about fire clouds here.
The dry conditions in Alberta have been worsened by the El Nino weather pattern that brought much needed rain to California and a more mild winter to Chicago.
However, according to the latest reports from the Chicago Tribune, weather conditions may be improving in the Fort McMurray area. Cooler air and light rain would help to control the fires that have forced people to evacuate their homes and take refuge in nearby towns. Edmonton, Alberta has offered shelter to over 14,000 people.
As I write this, rain is falling in Chicago. Here, it may cause traffic delays, or cancel a baseball game on a cool Spring evening. In Alberta, the rain could be a lifesaver.
I think of the residents of Fort McMurray, the firefighters, and all who are affected by the wildfires there. Here is the website for the Canadian Red Cross---Alberta Fires Appeal - AFA MWF Top Up Don
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