Why is the thick wildfire smoke back?

Utah Air Quality
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The start of this work week revealed something we have not been able to see clearly in the Beehive State for the last little while–blue skies!

Wildfire smoke from fires burning in California have pushed plumes of smoke through Utah for the last several weeks. Monday and Tuesday we saw southwesterly winds help us out, pushing thicker plumes to the north of the state and allowing for some clearer skies.

While patchy smoke meant hazy sunshine, we didn’t have elevated particulate matter causing major air quality concerns for the start of the work week. Unfortunately, that’s changing. A cold front, and a few smaller weather disturbances, moving through Utah Wednesday into Thursday will actually open the door for thicker plumes of smoke to return.

We get a wind direction shift, so smoke filled skies will become more noticeable as the concentration of smoke increases statewide. A low pressure system moving into the Pacific Northwest will promote more a of a westerly flow in the coming days and that means bad air makes a comeback. 

The Department of Environmental Quality is calling for moderate air quality for all counties in Northern and Eastern Utah Wednesday, but air quality is forecasted to worsen on Thursday following the front.

On Thursday, unhealthy air returns with air forecasted to hit the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category for Cache, Davis, Weber, Box Elder, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Utah counties. Expect smoke filled skies to linger along the Wasatch Front, with air quality concerns for the rest of the work week. 

Stay ahead of all the smoke and any weather changes with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast on-air and online. We are There4You!

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