SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Step out onto the front porch and you are sure to notice the smoke that has filled Utah’s air along the Wasatch Front. But where is the smoke coming from and how safe is it be outside?
The smoke is coming from wildfires in Northern California and Oregon. As northern winds moved into the Beehive State on Wednesday morning, it brought temperatures down a few degrees but carried that smoke into the valley.
According to ABC4’s Portland sister station, KOIN, there are a total of 17 “large” wildfires that are actively burning more than 125,000 acres of forest and grassland across Oregon and Washington. Meanwhile, in California, over 222,000 acres have been burned from several wildfires across the state.
The good news is the smoke in Utah isn’t here to stay. ABC4 Meteorologist Thomas Geboy said by Thursday morning, southerly winds return to kick out any residual smoke along the Wasatch Front.
Until then, Utahns will have to take a few precautions to stay safe from the hazardous air, particularly those who are considered to be part of the sensitive groups.
IQAir, an online air monitoring service, reports Salt Lake City’s air quality as “moderate.” In other areas along the Wasatch Front, the air is considered “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Under “moderate” conditions pollution may pose a moderate health concern, such as some respiratory symptoms like a cough, for those who are sensitive to pollution.
Overall, children, older adults and people suffering from heart or lung disease should stay indoors. Sensitive groups can best protect themselves indoors by using an air purifier and closing all doors and windows. When going outside, a mask is recommended.
Recreating outdoors, such as hiking or biking, should also be limited in order to protect your lungs from the harmful air.