The pandemic’s travel crunch brought emissions to all-time lows around the globe. Now it’s as if the planet is overcorrecting for that breath of fresh air by engulfing America’s west coast in a record-breaking, pollution-spewing series of wildfires.
Just how bad is the air quality out west right now? This bad according to AirNow.gov, the EPA’s air quality monitoring website:
And this bad according to PurpleAir, an organization that monitors air quality using laser particle counters:
The numbers on the PurpleAir image (which were valid as of Saturday) tell the tale. Any number over 150 is bad, according to the EPA’s Air Quality Index chart:
And here’s what the fires looked like last week, as seen via satellite:
“The West Coast,” writes Business Insider, “has the worst air quality on Earth right now.” That was written on Friday. As of today firefighters have made some progress, with some Oregonians returning to their burnt-out communities. But it isn’t over yet. You can see updates of where the fires continue to burn here.