Hazy skies blanket East Coast as wildfire smoke blows from West

Portland, Ore.

Smoke and ash from massive wildfires in the American West clouded the sky and led to air quality alerts Wednesday on parts of the East Coast as the effects of the blazes were felt 2,500 miles away.

Strong winds blew smoke east from California, Oregon, Montana, and other states all the way to the other side of the continent. Haze hung over New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The nation’s largest wildfire, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, grew to 618 square miles – just over half the size of Rhode Island. Fires also burned on both sides of California’s Sierra Nevada and in Washington state and other areas of the West.