“One thing that could get the smoke out really quickly is a nice front that moves through the area,” Jon Wilson tells ABC4. He continues, “(A) cold front or warm front that will change our wind direction and it will essentially flush things out.”
Wilson is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. He says NWS doesn’t expect any type of front to move in over the next few days to help push out the smoke.
Since last week, the wind has been pushing smoke from the Bootleg Fire in Oregon and the Beckwourth Complex Fire in California west into Utah. Wilson says the wind will continue to blow this way for most of the week. He adds, “Basically, the current weather pattern is a pretty stable one, pretty stagnant one, you could say.”
Wilson tells ABC4 the smoke is affecting the entire state, but not equally.
“Those fires are pretty much straight west of Northern Utah,” he explains. “So, the smoke will be worse in Northern Utah and gradually diminish the further south you go.”
He says this is bringing down daytime high temperatures statewide. “We’re talking three to five degrees.”
Northern Utah will see the most relief from the heat during the day because the smoke is thicker and acts more like heavy cloud coverage.
However, at night, it has the opposite effect. “The longwave radiation coming up from the ground and escaping back into space sort of gets blocked, so the smoke almost acts like a blanket,” states Wilson.
Northern Utah may experience the most trapped heat at night, again due to the smoke being thicker in the region.
Wilson says the smoke is causing similar patterns with visibility across the state. In Northern Utah, he says it ranges anywhere from six to seven miles. In the Salt Lake City area, he says visibility ranges from seven to nine miles. Moving down from Central to Southern Utah, visibility ranges from eight to 10 miles.