If you go outside in most parts of the continental United States tonight, the moon will appear to have a slight orange hue to it. You can thank that massive wildfires in the Western US for the light show.
According to ABC News, at least 40 million Americans–more than 12% of the country’s population–are experiencing poor air quality because of the ash getting into the jetstream that crosses the US. The haze caused by the fires have been credited for the subdued sun shining over New York City this morning.
At least 80 wildfires are burning in 17 states, mostly in the West. Oregon’s Bootleg Fire has consumed more than 388,000 acres–twice the area covered by New York City, about half the area of the state of Rhode Island–and it is just 30% contained.
The ash will also help to add to sunrises and sunsets where more vibrant reds are apparent for months to come. Ash from forest fires, like ash from volcanic eruptions, can circulate in the atmosphere for months.
California fire season started in June and traditionally goes through September, however an ongoing drought in California and other western states will likely make the fires more frequent and faster to spread.