GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Late summer and early fall typically lead to the ignition of wildfires across the United States and in Canada.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently 71 large wildfires in the United States. Eight of those are new. Only one is contained at this point in time, with almost 500,000 acres on fire.

While smoke concentration is typically heaviest in the areas directly surrounding a wildfire, smoke occasionally can be carried for thousands of miles. Currents of air traveling thousands of feet above the surface of the ground are the primary transport.

Thursday, smoke surrounded West Michigan with plumes pouring into the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior.

Full sunshine is still expected for West Michigan on Friday. Thy sky Friday in our area is expected to be blue and free from the tinge of milky-white that usually stains the sky from wildfire smoke. This is because the upper level winds that help to steer the smoke are expected to carry it north of the Lower Peninsula into Canada.

Rain will move in Saturday, especially after dark in West Michigan, with a frontal system bringing clouds and rain Sunday through Tuesday. The next chance of full sunshine to follow will arrive Wedenesday.

We will continue to keep you updated on wildfire smoke potential as we move into the statistically most active time of the year for wildfires.