Is there any connection between all the forest fires and the cold weather we’re experiencing?

Dear Tom,
Is there any connection between all the forest fires and the cold weather we’re experiencing?
— Barbara Ziliak
Dear Barb,
There is not. Smoke and ash from forest fires rise no more than a few thousand feet into the air and are quickly washed out of the atmosphere by precipitation. Major volcanic eruptions, on the other hand, do indeed affect global temperatures, dispersing massive quantities of sun-blocking volcanic aerosols into the lower stratosphere where they spread around the globe, bringing lower temperatures and spectacularly colored sunsets. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines lowered global temperatures about 1 degree Fahrenheit for a year following the eruption. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia triggered the famous 1816 “year without a summer” in the Northeastern U.S.