It has been a devastating week for southern California where wildfires have burned out of control since Tuesday.
The fires continue to burn into the weekend from just north of Los Angeles south to San Diego. In Ventura County alone, more than 132,000 acres have been scorched by the fires.
Fortunately, there have been no reports human fatalities, but 54 horses died in fires at two separate ranches. A state of emergency has been declared and federal funds will soon arrive to aid in the continued fight of fires, cleanup, and to help the displaced.
Cal Fire report that more than 212,000 people have been evacuated at some point this week and 8,700 firefighters are spread out across the burning acres working to control the fires.
Although the fires are impacting thousands of people in Southern California, smoke from the fires has the potential to impact millions along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada. Smoke and ash from the fires are currently being blown west into the Pacific but new forecast model data suggest that the pattern could change over the weekend driving the smoke and ash north along the coastline.
This could create significant air quality issues for people living in those areas. With no rain in the immediate forecast for that area, the smoke and ash are free to travel north bringing a smokey haze to all in its path.
This would have the greatest impact on the elderly, those with asthma, and breathing difficulties and as long as the fires are burning the plumes of smoke and ash continue to pour into the atmosphere.
Firefighters hope to gain control this weekend as winds in the fire-ravaged area diminish but with dry conditions and plenty of fuel to feed the fires the struggle remains.