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What’s that smell? It could be the smoke from wildfires in Nova Scotia.

Thick plumes of heavy smoke filled the sky in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sunday. Some of the Nova Scotia made it to Massachusetts Tuesday, forecasters say.Kelly Clark/Associated Press

Smoke from wildfires in Nova Scotia has moved into Massachusetts, weather forecasters said Tuesday, and this time it won’t just cause an odd, hazy light, you may even be able to smell it when you go outside.

The smoke is moving north and west. It’s expected to move out of the Greater Boston area by late evening or the overnight hours but it will continue to affect the western part of the state after that, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Belk.

Belk said the fires were to the north in Nova Scotia but a high pressure area between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia took the smoke and drove it south before it turned back into Massachusetts.


The conditions are unlike last week’s wildfire smoke event where the smoke stayed high in the atmosphere. This time it is getting closer to the ground, Belk said.

He said people have been reporting on social media that they’ve smelled it. “There’s been all sorts of tweets across New England,” he said.

The forecasters themselves reported smelling it this morning.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality alert, warning of elevated fine particle levels. The levels will rise at times into the “moderate” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range, DEP said on its website.

The alert is in effect for the entire state except Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. Belk said that was because the smoke had already blown through the latter areas.

The weather service said in a post on its website, “Fortunately, the progressive nature of this band results in the worst impacts being felt in any locality for about 3-5 hours.”

“Thankfully,” they wrote, “the worst of the surface based smoke moves out of our region by the early overnight hours.”

The forecasters noted, “Even in regions where the thickest smoke plume has moved northwest of, a vivid sunset is likely with smoke and haze still on the horizon.”


Wildfires in Nova Scotia have damaged or destroyed 200 homes near Halifax while forcing more than 16,000 people to evacuate. The largest is over 24,700 acres and is still out of control.

Canada is in the midst of a mega fire season, with many months to go. The 5 million acres scorched so far this year is not far from the annual average of 6 million acres.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.

Martin Finucane can be reached at