It was a smell that invoked a memory. Both for Emily Kuchlbauer in North Carolina and Ryan Bomba in Chicago. It was smoke from wildfires, the odor of an increasingly hot and occasionally on-fire world.
Kuchlbauer had flashbacks to the surprise of soot coating her car three years ago when she was a recent college graduate in San Diego. Bomba had deja vu from San Francisco, where the air was so thick with smoke people had to mask up. They figured they left wildfire worries behind in California, but a Canada that’s burning from sea to warming sea brought one of the more visceral effects of climate change home to places that once seemed immune.
FILE – The Statue of Liberty, covered in a haze-filled sky, is photographed from the Staten Island Ferry, June 7, 2023, in New York. As smoky as the summer has been so far, scientists say it will likely be worse in future years because of climate change. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)© Provided by The Associated Press
“It’s been very apocalyptic feeling, because in California the dialogue is like, ‘Oh, it’s normal. This is just what happens on the West Coast,’ but it’s very much not normal here,” Kuchlbauer said.
As Earth’s climate continues to change from heat-trapping gases spewed into the air, ever fewer people are out of reach from the billowing and deadly fingers of wildfire smoke, scientists say. Already wildfires are consuming three times more of the United States and Canada each year than in the 1980s and studies predict fire and smoke to worsen.
FILE – Haze is visible in New York City from the Empire State Building observatory, June 7, 2023, in New York. As smoky as the summer has been so far, scientists say it will likely be worse in future years because of climate change. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, File)© Provided by The Associated Press
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