American Skies Turn Blood Red As Wildfires Continue To Burn

by : Emily Brown on :
American Skies Turn Blood Red As Wildfires Continue To Burn@ThePlanetaryGuy/Twitter/PA Images

The United States is often associated with having clear skies and bright sunshine, especially in the summer, but Oregon residents were met with a shocking sight when the skies turned blood red. 

Seeing red in the sky isn’t uncommon at sunrise and sunset, but photos and videos shared widely online yesterday, September 8, are difficult to comprehend.


The sky above the state turned a dramatic, bright shade of red as a result of the wildfires that continue to burn across numerous areas in the west of the country. Many of the images were captured long before sunset, with the eerie skies visible in full daylight hours.

See footage of the sky below:

Though the sky appears to be as red as the fires scorching the land below, the colour of the sky is not caused by the glow of the flames. Instead, it’s the result of a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering, which is caused by smoke particles from the wildfires, IFL Science reports.


Rayliegh scattering explains why we see the sky as blue during the day and as reddish pink in the early morning or evening. Visible light is made up of colours in different wavelengths, and as sunlight passes through the gases and particles in Earth’s atmosphere, the different wavelengths get broken up through refraction and scattering.

During daylight, this effect causes sunlight to be lightly scattered and appear blue. At sunrise or sunset, the Sun is lower in the sky and takes a longer path through the atmosphere, prompting more scattering and so making the sky appear more red.

The midday red skies in Oregon are down to the fact that more light can be scattered if there’s more pollution, smoke, and other micro-particles in the atmosphere, as there currently is in Oregon because of the wildfires.


CNN reports there are about 40 large fires burning across California, Oregon and Washington after extreme heat and high winds spurred on the flames.


Four People Arrested For Deliberately Starting Wildfires Along American West Coast

published at2 years ago

Thousands of residents have been evacuated from the areas, with more than 230,000 acres burned in Oregon alone. Governor Kate Brown said that although she has seen ‘historic wildfires’ almost every year since she took office, this year’s blazes are ‘unprecedented’.

Brown described the fires as a ‘once-in-a-generation event’ and said that the situation is so difficult and dangerous that ‘even firefighters are being evacuated’.


The red skies and shocking images really make the seriousness of the situation hit home; our thoughts are with all those affected by the wildfires.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Bette Midler Wants The US To Ban Viagra Because It’s ‘God’s Will’ To Have A ‘Limp D**k’

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, America, California, Now, Oregon, washington, Wildfires


IFL Science and 3 others
  1. IFL Science

    The Sky Turned An Apocalyptic Shade Of Red In Oregon Yesterday

  2. CNN

    Hundreds of thousands of acres are burning in Oregon, California and Washington, and weather conditions are no help

  3. Paul Byrne/Twitter


  4. Infotainment/YouTube

    Sky turns Red because of wildfire in Oregon - USA