How big? Canada fires could swallow New Jersey
As New Jersey prepares for another day of dangerous air, many of you have asked where all this smoke is coming from.
It's being carried here from a massive series of wildfire in Canada, mostly burning around Quebec and Ottawa.
There are over 400 active wildfires currently burning in Canada.
Nearly 240 of those are considered "out of control."
More than 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and communities.
Canada is on pace to have its worst wildfire season in known history.
When we say massive, we mean really massive.
More than 9.3 million acres have been charred, and that number of growing by the hour.
For comparison, the entirety of the New Jersey Pine Barrens is about 1.1 million acres, according to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.
The area burning in Canada is bigger than the entire state of New Jersey, which comprises a total landmass of 5.582 million acres.
The biggest wildfire to date in New Jersey was the Allen Road fire in Bass River State Forest. That fire burned about 5,400 acres.
The population difference
While New Jersey's wildfires are a fraction of the size of the one burning in Canada, they can be more dangerous to people and property.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation (more people per square mile). That means even a small wildfire can put many homes and entire neighborhoods in jeopardy.
Despite the dense population, New Jersey is still approximately 40% woodlands.
The Glory's Wildfire in Jackson Township was about 50 acres, but it sparked up in a dense residential area and threatened dozens of homes.
While there have been tens of thousands of people evacuated in Quebec and Ottawa, many of the fires are in areas of Canada that are sparsely populated.
Fire Outlook in NJ
This has been a very active wildfire season.
On average, New Jersey has 1,500 wildfires per year, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Approximately 7,000 acres per year are burned.
2023 has been an extremely active wildfire season.
There have been nine major wildfires that have burned at least 100 acres so far this year across New Jersey including many in Ocean and Burlington counties.
More than 11,000 acres have already burned in the Garden State.
The seasonal increase can be directly linked to the lack of rainfall. The Spring has been extremely dry, creating the perfect conditions for a stray spark or lightning strike to touch off a fire.
Elevated danger is likely to remain as long as the dry conditions remain.
NJ's crazy haze, choking smoke, and sinister sky
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