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Smoke from Quebec Forest Fires Spreads to WNY

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A sunny sky in the Buffalo area Saturday gave way to what appeared to be clouds and haze. But the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the culprit was not clouds but smoke from forest fires in Quebec.

At least 50 fires were burning in a remote area near James Bay, about 500 miles north of Montreal. The smoke spread into much of New York State, including Buffalo.

The smoke should not cause health problems, Weather Service Meteorologist Steve McLaughlin in Buffalo said. But people will experience a whiff of burning wood in the air.

"The skies have been very milky, very hazy, across New York and southern New England," he said. "It may seem like it's getting cloudy, but all the milkiness in the sky is smoke."

The fires were sparked by lightning from thunderstorms, according to McLaughlin.

"Visibility was one to two miles in some places," McLaughlin said. "The sun was almost blocked out by it."

Shifting winds from the northwest were expected to drive the smoke out of Western New York by mid morning Sunday.