Numerous wildfires burning out west across Idaho, western Montana, and southern British Colombia have produced a large plume of smoke that has spread eastward across much of the United States. Below is a visible satellite image taken during the early evening hours of Thursday August 2nd. Notice the milky white appearance that extends across the Dakotas, Iowa and into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, that milky white is actually the smoke plume being photographed by the GOES Satellite.
The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services (NESDIS), another line office of NOAA, actually uses satellite imagery routinely to track not only smoke plumes, but also wildfires. The image below, from the NESDIS website Thursday evening, actually shows the wildfires that were active at the time over Idaho, Montana, and far southwest Canada, as well as the large smoke plume that extended eastward across the country.
This image was from Thursday August 2nd, to see the latest wildfires and smoke plumes from across the country, check out the interactive map on the NESDIS website!