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Local News

Hazy Skies Could Dissipate with Windy Weather Days

hazy_sky.jpg
Ben Lasseter/KPCW
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The hazy skies could clear up this week with help from winds and precipitation that are in local forecasts.

“Good news,” said Ashley Sumner of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). “It really looks like over the next day or so, we’re going to have those upper-level winds that are shifting, and they should move or keep the smoke out of northern Utah. There’s the moisture we expect over the next couple of days as well, so with that shift we expect hopefully some monsoon moisture. It’s good for our drought and for our air quality because it means more cloud cover, and that’ll help in reducing ozone pollution.”

The recent heavy smoke has been a product of fires from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Fires in those states have grown larger than those in Utah.

For example, the Bootleg Fire in Oregon had grown to over 400,000 acres in size, according to the United States Forest Service.

Sumner says hot, dry and sunny days enable smog to accumulate more easily. With more days like this expected through the summer, she expects there will be more hazy skies to come.

“We’ll likely have the added factor of wildfires, so we do expect that our air quality will continue to have some poor air quality days,” she said.

The DEQ offers tips for how to adapt to hazy skies, especially for those who have sensitive lungs.

Sumner said, “We recommend avoiding outdoor activity on days when it is unhealthy for sensitive populations from about 12 to seven. That’s when we tend to see the worst ozone air pollution. With the added factor of wildfire smoke, that made it extend into earlier or later in the day. So, we really ask people to listen to their bodies.”

She recommends visiting air.utah.gov, website that shows forecasts up to three days out. There is also a Utah Air App.