Chicago blanketed by haze from Canada blazes which has now reached Spain. | ERIC COX


Mallorca has been placed on extreme forest fire alert today while the smoke from the Canadian wildfires which blanketed several major urban centres in June, including New York City and Toronto, tinging skies an eerie orange, has crossed the North Atlantic.

Worsening fires in Quebec and Ontario will likely make for hazy skies and deep orange sunsets in Europe this week as it begins to move across Spain. However, because the smoke is predicted to stay higher in the atmosphere, it's unlikely that surface air quality will be impacted.

This year's wildfire season is the worst on record in Canada, with some 76,000 square kilometres (29,000 square miles) burning across eastern and western Canada. That's greater than the combined area burned in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2022, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

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As of June 26, the annual emissions from the fires are now the largest for Canada since satellite monitoring began in 2003, surpassing 2014 at 140 million tons.

Scientists are especially concerned about what Canada's fires are putting into the atmosphere — and the air we breathe.

The carbon they have released is roughly equivalent to Indonesia's annual carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Canada's wildfire season typically peaks in late July or August, with emissions continuing to climb throughout the summer.