Smoke 901520

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(WGGB/WSHM) -- You may have noticed a milky sort of look to the skies over the last few days.

The National Weather Service said that is due, in large part, to smoke reaching the east coast from the wildfires happening along the west coast.

Dozens of wildfires are raging along the west coast, from California to Oregon to Washington state. The smoke is so intense that residents up and down the west coast are told to stay inside because of some of the worst air quality readings in the world.

Some of that intense smoke is now reaching the east coast and western Massachusetts.

“The wildfires from out west have basically arrived from a jet stream, a westerly flow, bringing the smoke into the northeast,” said Western Mass News First Warning meteorologist Dan Brown.

Brown said it's hanging in the upper levels of the atmosphere, some 15,000 feet up.

“So you look up into the sky and you can see almost that white, milky appearance and that's from smoke from the wildfires,” Brown explained.

What about the air we breathe? Dr. John Bayuk of Allergy and Immunology Associates of New England said the good news is that it's not an issue right now, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

“We'll have to watch really carefully. One of the problems with living in a valley, not just from an allergy perspective, and also we have one of the highest rates of asthma in the country,” Bayuk explained.

Living in the Pioneer Valley, Bayuk said, means good and bad air can become trapped in the valley.

“It really depends what comes our way, but once it gets into the Pioneer Valley, it’s difficult for it to leave unless we have pretty strong prevailing winds. That could be a real problem, so we'll have to watch,” Bayuk added.

It’s a potential problem, Bayuk said, particularly for those with underlying respiratory issues like asthma.

“The fires are still raging. It’s not like it happened and It’s over. It’s still getting worse. The amount of smoke that could get compounded over time. It definitely has the potential to be a risk,” Bayuk noted.

Again, while there are no air quality alerts in western Massachusetts now, the National Weather Service continues to monitor the affects of the smoke from coast to coast.

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