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A firefighter works at the scene of the Bobcat Fire burning on hillsides near Monrovia Canyon Park in Monrovia, California on Tuesday. Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Smoke from the historic wildfires ravaging the U.S. West was observed over the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe this week, and it will return to the continent this weekend, per European scientists' research.

Why it matters: "The fact that these fires are emitting so much pollution into the atmosphere that we can still see thick smoke" some 5,000 miles away "reflects just how devastating they have been in their magnitude and duration," said Mark Parrington, senior scientist at the European Commission's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which studied the data, in a statement.

  • Smoke usually travels from North America to Europe one or two times in a year, from "wildfires in British Columbia" but not from the U.S., Parrington told the Washington Post.

What they found: CAMS observed via satellite imagery the transportation of smoke from mega-fires in California, Oregon and Washington to Europe between Aug. 15 and Sept. 14.

  • The activity this year has been "tens to hundreds of times more intense than the 2003–2019 average in the US in general, as well as in several affected states," according to CAMS' report.
  • The fires in California and Oregon in particular "have already emitted far more carbon in 2020 than in any other year since CAMS records begin in 2003."

Of note: Parrington pointed out in his statement the massive scale of the smoke thickness, or aerosol optical depth (AOD), from the wildfires.

"Over the western US, AOD levels have been observed to reach values of seven or above; to put this into perspective, an AOD measurement of one already implies very hazy conditions and potentially poor air quality."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 9, 2020 - Health

23 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

23 states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and state health departments. 15 states surpassed records from the previous week.

Why it matters: More states across the country are handling record-high caseloads than this summer.

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

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3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.