Typically, when the Blue Angels are forced to cancel a demonstration, it’s due to rain or low clouds. However, on Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska, the cancellation was due to smoke.
To be able to perform, the Blue Angels must have at least three nautical miles of visibility horizontally from the designated show center point. Saturday afternoon, visibility in the Lincoln area was significantly reduced due to wildfires burning in Canada and Minnesota. More than 600 square miles have been burned in Fort McMurray, Canada. Winds from the northeast, helped by a frontal system, blew the smoke into the area and an air quality alert was in effect.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Smoke Analysis product showed heavy smoke in the Lincoln area Saturday afternoon. Each red dot indicates a hot spot or an active fire detected by satellites.
Although it is certainly frustrating for the spectators, this is probably the least important consequence of the devastating fires and our thoughts are with those affected. Luckily the team was able to perform a full demonstration on Sunday.