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Smoke from West Coast wildfires to impact Minnesota

You'll likely notice a hazy sunshine today and much of this week as wildfire smoke from the west coast hovers overhead
Credit: AP
Flames from the Beachie Creek Fire destroyed the Oregon Department of Forestry, North Cascade District Office in Lyons, Ore., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (Rob Schumacher/Statesman-Journal via AP, Pool)

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — With the devastating wildfires burning along the west coast there's plenty of smoke in the air, and it's elbowing into Minnesota. 

You'll notice a hazy film filtering out our sunshine today and though much of the week ahead. 

Posted by Laura Betker on Sunday, September 13, 2020

The good news is that the smoke drifting over Minnesota and Wisconsin is forecast to stay in the high levels of the atmosphere. That means it will have little effect for us down here at the surface where air quality is good, and will remain that way. That forecast is echoed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

One effect we do get though is some enhanced sunrises and sunsets. Smoke particles in the air are just the right size to filter out the blue wavelength light coming from the sun. What's left to travel to our eyes are the red and orange wavelengths. 

Credit: Mark Helminick
Hazy rice lake sunset Credit: Mark Helminick

This leads to sunrises and sunsets that can appear more brilliant than they would with clean air overhead.

As the fires continue, expect the smoke overhead to drift in and out all week long and beyond.

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