The boreal forest has been burning since the beginning of June in Quebec. The significant smoke released reached France this Monday 26th June 2023.
France in the fog? After having embalmed New York and part of the United States, the smoke from the Canadian mega-fires is now reaching France.
Since 2nd June 2023, Canada, and especially Quebec, has been burning. Hectares of the boreal forest are swallowed by fires in Quebec (Canada), where 81 fires are still active at the time of writing.
Smoke knows no borders, and this has consequences for us, in Europe. Since Monday, June 26, they have been in France and should remain in our atmosphere for several more days, confirms meteorologist Guillaume Séchet, creator of the Météo-Villes site.
A misty sky
It was Mark Parrington, scientific director at the Copernicus atmospheric monitoring service, who announced it on Twitter.
“Heavy smoke from forest fires in Canada is crossing the Atlantic and is expected to reach Ireland, the UK and Western Europe on 26th June,” it read.
The Weather Channel, for its part, confirmed the information this Sunday 25th June. “The smoke from the fires will be taken up by the westerly wind over the Atlantic, and will affect part of France this week”, explains the television channel.
According to the projections of the climate specialist Nahel Belgherze, expect “misty skies” and “vibrant sunsets”.
“The sun could not shine”
In fact, the fires in progress in Quebec “are the most important in the country”, indicates Guillaume Séchet, who is in Montreal at the moment. There is an “impressive density of smoke” across the Atlantic, especially in the Quebec metropolis, where, this Sunday 25th June 2023, “the sun could not shine”.
Covered in acrid smoke, the air quality there has been rated as the worst in the world.
If the grey plume arrives in France, it is because it is carried by a zonal flow, to understand from west to east, which affects part of France. The same flow at the origin of the drop in temperatures over the northern half of the country.
The smoke is present at “all altitudes, but more in high elevations since it is brought by a more regular altitude current”, notes Guillaume Séchet.
“Not very noticeable”
The smoke linked to the boreal forest fires has therefore reached France and even Paris, specifies Guillaume Séchet.
“It happened today, but it’s not very visible. I wonder if it will be more.”
On the other hand, “it’s everywhere”, confirms the meteorologist, “but it’s not thick enough for you to wonder what it is”.
On one of the Météo-Villes cameras that we were able to consult, we can clearly see Paris and the Seine under a grey sky. Without knowing, if it is grey because of the rather low clouds, or of the smoke coming directly from Canada.
Consequences for health?
Inevitably, the fumes are not good for the quality of the air, which is deteriorating. However, “with an ocean flow, the air is supposed to be of better quality”, opines Guillaume Séchet. Even if it is largely diluted, “there is carbon monoxide above France”.
Météo-France reassures: “The concentration of particles that have accumulated in New York because of the proximity between Canada and the USA has nothing to do with what affects us more than 5,000 km away.”
With Le Parisien, Mark Parrington, an expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, believes that an increase in the concentration of particles on the surface in Western Europe is “possible” in the coming days. Nevertheless, this phenomenon “is not expected to be particularly widespread on the continent and is rather located over the ocean”.
The peak at sunset, and after?
On the other hand, this Monday evening, at the time of sunset, you will be able to better realize the presence of this smoke via “a redder sunset than usual”, assures the meteorologist.
“It is when the sun is lowest that we can see it more, since it illuminates the atmospheric layers.”
Meteo France estimates that the fine particles emitted by the Canadian fires will be present on the territory “until the disturbance which will pass on Thursday 29th June causes a washing of the atmosphere thanks to the clouds and the rain “.
However, it is difficult to predict what will happen next. If the smoke is over France for a few days, other episodes are possible later.
“It could, yes,” agrees Guillaume Séchet. “But completely randomly. Everything will depend on the flow and intensity of the fires. These same fires do not weaken, for the time being, not.