Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The Statue of Liberty sits behind a cloud of haze from the wildfires out West earlier this month. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Just as some cities were about to see relief from the degraded air quality caused by wildfire smoke, another plume is expected to trickle in from the West, highlighting what authorities say is a reality for the remainder of a long and intense wildfire season.

Why it matters: Several studies in recent months are sounding alarms about how harmful microscopic particles from smoke can wreak havoc on the public's health despite being hundreds of miles from the fire sites.

Threat level: Children or older adults, people without air conditioning and those with heart and lung conditions are particularly affected by the smoke plumes.

  • Emerging evidence suggests links between disease, death and air pollution. Experts say long-term health effects of exposure to wildfire smoke need to be further studied.
  • Bad air can even cause problems among the general population when outside, especially during strenuous exercise. When breathed in, these small particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, which triggers inflammation.
  • Hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to smoke air pollution on average are also higher for people further away from wildfires compared to those directly nearby, due to a lack of warning systems of smoke and association of risk, according to a 2020 study.

The big picture: Many U.S. cities from as far east as New York City to as south as New Orleans had recording-breaking heat, which can also reduce air quality.

  • Just as the smoke from the Western Canadian fires dwindled, wildfires are expanding in Northern California with the Dixie Fire now ranking as the second-largest blaze in state history.

By the numbers: The number of unhealthy air quality days recorded in 2021 by pollution monitors nationwide is more than double the number to date in each of the last two years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Denver has been under air quality alerts for more than a month consecutively. Satellite images show a massive amount of smoke over northern Nevada and Utah headed for the Rocky Mountain state over the weekend.
  • In Minneapolis, most of the state remains under an "unprecedented" air quality alert thanks to a thick plume of smoke from Canadian wildfires.
  • Atmospheric conditions allowed the smoke to be carried by the jetstream and inhabit some states while sparing others. New England states like Vermont are likely to see smoke and haze on and off throughout the summer.

State of play: The smog lingering during the sunrise is a problem if it reaches ground level, where residents risk breathing in microscopic particles burned from the fires, Vivek Shandas, founder and director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab at Portland State University, tells Axios.

The effects of smoke are compounding.

  • "Folks who live alongside a freeway getting that dose of air pollution and all of a sudden you add to that a dose of particulate matter that has all kinds of components in it from the burns that have happened and that’s where it gets really severe," he said.

Air quality apps, messages to stay indoors in sealed spaces, air filters and portable filtration systems and respirators are all tools authorities have been using to help inform the public.

  • Stronger recommendations may be needed, and the public's familiarity with masks could be an advantage, Jeff Pierce, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University, tells Axios.
  • A June study in review co-authored by Pierce from Colorado State University shows the use of N95 masks outside could reduce respiratory hospital admissions by as much as 60%.

The bottom line: Any relief from the smoke plumes this summer is temporary, health experts say, emphasizing a need for new solutions as exposure to smoke from bigger wildfires becomes a regular occurrence.

Go deeper

Record-shattering rainfall and flooding slam Pacific Northwest

Whatcom County Sheriff's Office deputies come to the aid of stranded people in Everson, Wash. Photo: Whatcom County Sheriff's Office/Twitter

An intense "atmospheric river event" has resulted in extensive flooding and wind damage across parts of the Pacific Northwest, per the National Weather Service.

The latest: The extreme storm has triggered record-shattering rainfall in several cities in British Columbia, namely Hope, which had more than 11 inches of rain between Saturday and Monday.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Crypto meets the real world

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The two largest countries in the world seem intent on effectively banning their citizens from participating in crypto, which poses a serious threat to the crypto agenda.

Why it matters: The crypto world is global — but the real world is fragmented into nation-states, each of which claims control of what happens within its borders.