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Smoke from Siberia's forest fires reaches Canada

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10 July 2012


News reports in western Canada say that since last weekend the sun has been 'blurred', and experts are pointing the finger across the Pacific. 

'It's mainly due to fires in eastern Siberia,' claimed Environment Canada meteorologist Allan Coldwells.

'The smoke and dust travels across the Pacific Ocean in an upper level flow pattern and it's just the right trajectory to produce some issues in blocking the sun.'

But provincial air quality meteorologist Eric Taylor said the smoke was not only from fires in Siberia. 

'It appears to be coming from eastern Asia fires, not only in Siberia, but also in central Russia, China and even Vietnam,' he said. 

'It has taken six or seven days to get across the Pacific. It is getting caught up in high-level winds moving across the Pacific at about 8,000 metres.'

Canadians must hope for a cold front or the fires being brought under control, he said. 

Vancouver Island suffered from the haze but it was worse in the BC interior, said reports. Officials issued 'air quality advisories' is some communities, and people with health problems were urged to postpone strenuous exercise. 

'On the positive side, the automatic sun filter keeps temperatures slightly lower than if there were a clear sky. The haze is also leading to spectacular sunsets, with the sun disappearing beneath the horizon as a bright red ball,' said one account. 

Reports in Siberia on July 10 said the areas alight in summer blazes - an annual problem - had risen from 18,000 hectares to 24,500 hectares.

The worst blazes are raging in Krasnoyarsk territory, Tomsk and Irkutsk regions.   

But all wildfires were extinguished in the Republic of Tuva.

Firefighters were making strenuous efforts to extinguish blazes and some 25 forest fires were put out over an area of 4,111 hectares, one of them covering 1,500 hectares, said the forestry department of the Siberian Federal District.

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