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NASA satellites show smoke from Canadian forest fires drifting south

"Children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems should take care," the warning read. "People in good health should consider reducing strenuous activities outdoors."

By Brooks Hays
NASA satellites show smoke from Canadian forest fires drifting south
The smoke of several Canadian forest fires in Saskatchewan drifts south. (NASA/Earth Observatory)

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- A dense smoke is rising from the dense and chronically dry boreal forests of Canada Northwest Territories as wildfires continue to burn. As of this week, 164 different fires remained active and more than 1,642 square miles of forest and field had been charred.

"The drought conditions that we're seeing and the fire behavior that we're seeing is something we haven't seen, as I said, in about 30 years," explained Bill Mawdsley, the head of forest management for Canada's N.W.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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NASA has released a number of images captured by their Earth Observatory satellites showing the forest fire smoke drifting en masse southward towards the United States border.

As of today, the smoke had drifted as far south as the Dakotas.

The smoke is so thick and omnipresent that officials in Canada have issued air quality warnings for all of Saskatchewan, and several other Northwest communities, including Yellowknife, Dettah, Fort Resolution, Fort Smith, Gameti, Whati, Behchoko and Lutsel K'e.

"Children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems should take care," health officials warned. "People in good health should consider reducing strenuous activities outdoors."

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