It was one for the record books in New Jersey. In June 2023, New Jersey's skies became choked with smoke billowing in from Canadian wildfires.

And it wasn't just hazy, milky skies we dealt with. This time, we dealt with the smoke settling on the surface creating an ominous and eerie scene all throughout the Garden State. Nothing but orange everywhere, with air quality so poor it was practically off the charts.

According to BBC News, Canada is still reeling from "2023, when roughly [45.7m acres] of land had burned - an area about the size of North Dakota. On average, just [6.18m acres] typically burn in Canada each year."

It was one of the worst wildfire seasons ever recorded with dangerous smoke and air particles affecting large parts of the country, including the United States. Many areas, including New Jersey, looked like scenes from a movie.

Unfortunately, the 2024 wildfire season in Canada is also off to an early start (It typically doesn't start until July or August on average).

Approximate area of the largest concentration of Canadian wildfires burning with the thickest smoke as of May 16, 2024
Approximate area of the largest concentration of Canadian wildfires burning with the thickest smoke as of May 14, 2024 (Canva Illustration)

Where are the fires?

The illustration above doesn't show where all the Canadian wildfires are burning as of May 14, 2024. Rather, it shows where the largest of them are generating the thickest plumes of smoke. So far, approximately 13,000 acres have burned with that number still growing.

According to USA Today, "Most of the fires are in British Columbia and Alberta." And that smoke has been blowing down toward the United States. Similar to last year, this is creating a very hazardous situation for those who are outdoors.

As of May 14, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have all been under air quality alerts at some level due to the smoke.

Mark Worobetz
Mark Worobetz

More risk for New Jersey?

As of now, New Jersey's air quality remains good with the Canadian wildfire smoke well out to our west. In fact, New Jersey isn't expected to see any significant impacts from the Canadian wildfires at least through the remainder of June, which is great news for Memorial Day weekend plans.

Things, however, may change beyond that. Milky skies and poor air quality are still very much a possibility when it comes to these wildfires up north.

Get the latest from Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow here

As noted above, Canada's wildfire season is off to another early start this year and showing no signs of slowing. The good news at least is that at this point last year, the situation was more dire than it is right now (See photos from that crazy scene below).

APTOPIX Canada Wildfires New York

NJ's crazy haze, choking smoke, and sinister sky

Canadian wildfire smoke affecting New Jersey in 2023.

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.