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Wildfire smoke from canyon creating dangerous air quality in Spanish Fork

By Tracie Snowder, KSL.com | Posted - Aug 9th, 2018 @ 9:24am


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SPANISH FORK — Despite air quality improving around the state, Spanish Fork's air quality is in the red zone Thursday morning, due to smoke drifting down Spanish Fork Canyon as a result of nearby wildfires.

The air quality index level in Spanish Fork is currently at 242, according to KSL Meteorologist Grant Weyman.

"This is about the highest number I have ever seen on our air quality scale," Weyman said. "We know we've got the fire in Spanish Fork Canyon. The winds, typically this time of morning, go downslope. It looks like we are getting some very, very bad air, no doubt, due to the smoke."

A plume of smoke is seen over Spanish Fork Canyon on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. (Photo: Courtesy Donna Wollenzien)

Residents in the area should limit all outdoor activities and should stay indoors, Weyman said.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality issued a red alert for all of Utah Thursday, asking residents to help keep ozone levels down. Red alert days mean the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups like children and older adults, people who are active outdoors and people with lung disease, such as asthma, the DEQ reported.

A mandatory action alert is in effect, with the following instructions on the DEQ website:

"Employers (should) activate mandatory trip reduction programs. Individuals should TravelWise by consolidating trips and choose cleaner transportation options. Limit volatile organic compound emissions. Smoke from wildfires could cause high concentrations of particulates in populated areas. If smoke becomes thick, persons with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity."

Officials expect wildfire smoke to continue to affect air quality around the state. For the latest conditions, visit KSL's Air Quality Network or air.utah.gov.

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Tracie Snowder

KSL Weather Forecast

Updated: Tuesday September 25, 2018 6:37 pm