Smoky Skies Affect the Region, Study Says

Oct 29, 2013

This panoramic view of east-central Texas on September 6, 2011, highlights numerous smoke plumes caused by wildfires burning across the state. The image was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Credit NASA Earth Observatory

The destruction caused by wildfires may be obvious to the observer, but one new piece of research brings attention to the potential effects of smoke from those wildfires.

The majority of the High Plains region falls under an area of the nation most affected by plumes of smoke from wildfires and other causes, according to research by environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council.

These most heavily smoked areas experienced between 12 and 47 days of medium or high density smoke in 2011, the year in which satellite images of smoke plumes from NOAA were analyzed, reports StateImpact Texas.

A map showing areas where smoke was heaviest in 2011 according to the NRDC.
Credit NRDC

According to the group's statistics, Texas has the highest population of any state living in areas with smoke conditions for a week or more out of the year.