Wildfires, ozone and fireworks combine for unhealthy air

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) Smoke billowing from Utah’s wildfires spiked unhealthy levels of air Monday evening in Duchesne and Uintah Counties.

“We are seeing that particulate pollution is especially harmful when you breathe. It can get lodged in your lungs,” Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesperson Donna Kemp Spangler said.

The small particulate matter is moving across the state, but it isn’t the only danger to our lungs this week.

Ozone levels are listed as moderately unhealthy for much of the state, according to the DEQ.

Experts also expect a rise in unhealthy air from personal fireworks over the 4th of July.

“When people are celebrating with fireworks, we do see those really short-term spikes and that means it’s really highly concentrated,” Kemp Spangler said.

Fireworks contribute the same type of pollution as the wildfires.

This week’s pollution trifecta an cause breathing problems to the young, elderly and those at risk.

“Pay attention to your own situation; pay attention to the symptoms that you may be experiencing. If you are experiencing symptoms, take steps to reduce your exposure,” Utah Department of Health Epidemiologist Nathan LaCross said.

Experts advise staying indoors and avoiding fireworks if someone is coughing or wheezing. Strenuous physical activity should be done in the early morning or evening hours to avoid higher ozone levels.

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