During much of the summer of 2023, fires raged through the boreal forests in northern British Columbia and Alberta, as well as in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories. These infernos prompted evacuations as they neared towns and sent billows of smoke drifting occasionally south into the United States.

In mid-September, strong winds from a passing cold front interacted with some of the fires, giving rise to an extensive swirling cloud suffused with smoke. This smoky tempest, stretching across hundreds of kilometers, is clearly visible in the image captured by the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) aboard the NOAA-20 satellite on September 16, 2023.

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