Siberian fires bring red sunsets to Pacific Northwest

Story highlights

  • Smoke from massive fires in Siberia created fiery sunsets in the Pacific Northwest
  • Atmospheric winds carried smoke from the wildfires across the Pacific Ocean
  • Smoke particles altered wavelengths from the sun, creating a more intense color

(CNN)A fiery sunset greeted people in Washington Sunday.

The deep reddish color caught Seattle native Tim Durkan's eye. He photographed a handful of aerial shots of the sunset warming the city's skyline and shared them on CNN iReport.
The stunning sunsets were the result of raging wildfires in parts of Siberia.
    "The dramatic sunsets began showing up over the weekend and had Seattle locals wondering where the amber-colored haze was originating from," Durken said.
    The fires were started in southeastern Siberia, by farmers burning grass in their fields. But on April 14, it is believed that the flames quickly grew out of control because of strong winds and spread throughout the region, according to CNN affiliate KOMO-TV.
    As a result, the fires have destroyed dozens of villages in the region. Rescue crews were able to put out the flames. However, the lingering smoke from the widespread fires were picked up by atmospheric winds.
    The winds carried the smoke from Siberia across the Pacific Ocean and brought it to the Pacific Northwest. Parts of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are seeing the results of the smoke, wind and solar light combination.
    The reason people are seeing an intense red sunset is a result of smoke particles filtering out the shorter wavelength colors from the sunlight like greens, blues, yellows and purples, KOMO-TV said.
    That means colors like red and orange are able to penetrate the air unfiltered. The colors are especially intense during sunrises and sunsets because there is more atmosphere for the light to travel through to get to a person's eye.
    As the smoke starts to dissipate, air quality will get better and these fiery sunsets will lose their reddish hue.