Sunset over Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains on 18 April 2015. The red color is caused by smoke from massive wildfires burning a large area in Siberia. Photo: Sigma Sreedharan Photography

By Scott Sistek  
19 Apr 2015

(KOMO News) – The scenes have almost felt like they're out of Hollywood imagination -- brilliant red sunrises and sunsets the last couple of days around Western Washington.

Why so red? It's a byproduct of the massive wildfires that recently burned a large area in Siberia.

The atmospheric winds are aligned this week to carry the smoke across the Pacific Ocean and into the Pacific Northwest.

First up, to get an idea of just how much smoke is in the atmosphere, look at this visible satellite image taken on April 14 of the southeastern Siberia area where the wildfires got out of control:

Several smoky fires burned in Zabaikalsky Territory on 14 April 2015, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image. The fires are outlined in red. Several dark burn scars are visible through the smoke. Photo: Jeff Schmaltz / LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Where did the smoke go? This graphic is a model trajectory tracing back the air pattern across the Pacific Ocean over the past week. Note the air from the wildfires makes somewhat of a bee line toward Seattle (with a brief stop for a loop-de-loop in the central Pacific:

Trajectory of smoke from wildfires in Siberia as it travels over the central Pacific ocean to U.S. Pacific Northwest in April 2015. Graphic: NOAA

Amazingly the smoke is still quite intense when it gets here… [more]

Smoke from Siberian wildfires turns Northwestern sunsets a fiery red

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