Smoke will rise from southern Utah on Monday. Northern Utah could see clearer skies on Wednesday.
Some Utahners should get some relief from the smoke that plagued the state on Monday afternoon – but only those in the southernmost parts of the state.
Unhealthy pollution will suffocate northern and central Utah by mid-week, according to the National Weather Service.
At 8:00 a.m. on Monday, Salt Lake City was number 5 on the list of the world’s worst air cities, according to IQAir.com, and had the worst air of any US city.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality warned the air in Salt Lake, Tooele, Duchesne, Weber, and Box Elder counties was in the orange zone (unhealthy for sensitive groups) due to PM 2.5 particles, and early Monday the values are expected to rise to the red zone later in the day (unhealthy for everyone). A cold front is sweeping northern and central Utah, bringing more smoke from west coast forest fires to Utah.
PM 2.5 refers to tiny particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter – too small to be filtered out by your nose. They can cause a wide variety of health problems.
Among the forest fires that send smoke in Utah’s path is the massive Dixie Fire in northwest California, which burned about half a million acres Monday morning and is only 2% contained.
On Monday, 22 Utah firefighters, five engines and several support vehicles made their way to California to help fight the fire. Employees from the Unified Fire Authority, Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office, and Provo, Draper, Cedar City, Murray, Orem, and West Valley City Fire Departments will spend 14 days fighting the Dixie Fire.
There may be good news on the horizon: The National Weather Service forecasts clear skies over Utah on Wednesday.
In Salt Lake City, temperatures on Monday will be in the upper 80s, about 10 degrees less than on Sunday. But the forecast calls for the heat to rise as the week goes on – 90 on Tuesday, 93 on Wednesday, 95 on Thursday, 97 on Friday.
The air quality in St. George is good on Monday morning, although some wisps of smoke can be expected. It is expected to be clear and hot by Friday – temperatures in the low to mid 100s range.