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Should we start calling these sunsets “firebows”?

July 18, 2015

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There’s no ignoring the eye-popping sunsets that we’re seeing here in Vancouver (and across much of Western Canada, I  bet) or what’s causing them — massive forest fires!

Sunset are normally colourful because at dusk, the light of the sun is filtered through the thickest part of the atmosphere closest to the ground. Particles in the air block some of the colours that add up to make the white light of the sun; creating the oranges, reds, yellows, pinks and blues that we see painting clouds.

When you add in the billions of extra particles of fire smoke that — while they aren’t settled like fog over the city any more — are certainly suspended high up in the atmosphere; then the result is what we’ve been seeing every evening: sunsets of such neon intensity that they must be seen to be believed.

Rain make rainbows and fire makes…more vivid sunsets

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A panoramic view of West Broadway Ave. looking northwest at 9:26 p.m.

So it occurred to me to think that these sunsets, caused as they are by forest fire smoke, are a little bit like the colourful rainbows that are the product of rainstorms.

Except that, while rainbows always signal the end of a storm, these ongoing fiery sunsets are a sign that the firestorms on the ground continue. So maybe a better way to look at them is like the flashing red, blue and yellow lights that often attend a serious emergency. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview

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