GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

May 31, 2010

Local smoke, haze a product of Quebec wildfires

There is an old adage that tells us, where there's smoke there's fire. But that's not the case — at least not locally — with the palpable haze and odor of smoke hovering over Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann this morning.

While several have called in reports citing an odor of smoke, Gloucester fire officials have not identified any serious brush or forest fires locally. However, Deputy Fire Chief Tom Aiello said the smoke apparently stems from a rash of wildfires burning in southern Quebec, where dozens of blazes are continuing to rage in what officials there are calling "a forest catastrophe."

Residents of Cape Ann and other North Shore communities are not alone. The smoky haze from Canadian wildfires has brought reduced visibility in parts of northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont throughout the weekend, and the National Weather Service confirmed that smoke from forest fires is riding deeper into New England this morning, thanks to northerly winds blowing into Gloucester and other parts of the North Shore.

The Weather Service is forecasting a shift in the wind direction to west/southwest later in the day, and that should carry away much of the smoke and haze.

In the meantime, for Cape Anners, Aiello said, "it's kind of a nuisance."

We will update this story later today as any more information becomes available. For more, look to Tuesday's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.

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