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SALT LAKE CITY — It didn't take too long for smoke from Western wildfires to return to Utah.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service said Tuesday that since the southernly flow that helped bring in monsoonal precipitation and push smoke from California and Oregon fires north the last little while has moved on, northwest winds are bringing that smoke back into the Beehive State.
Smoke from fires across the West will continue to impact portions of Utah today. Here's the forecast from one of our computer models showing forecast concentration of smoke through the atmosphere today. #utwxpic.twitter.com/DDdlUeodNS— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) August 4, 2021
For at least the next few days and maybe longer, it's expected to result in unhealthy air quality especially for sensitive groups but maybe even levels worse than that in some areas, said KSL meteorologists Grant Weyman.
"All of a sudden now (with) that air quality, the smoke is getting thicker down to the surface, so we're going to start feeling it here and certainly seeing it with the poor visibility," he said.
AQ not so good today... pic.twitter.com/h3dknmIwnG— Grant Weyman (@KSLweyman) August 4, 2021
The Utah Division of Air Quality projects air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups across the Wasatch Front (Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber/Box Elder counties) Wednesday and Thursday, and moderate in Cache, Carbon, Duchesne, Iron, Tooele, Uintah and Washington counties. It's also expected to remain unhealthy for sensitive groups in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties Friday, while the Weber/Box Elder forecast calls for moderate levels along with the areas in northern, eastern and southern Utah, according to the division.
"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," the agency wrote.
Surge remote work eligible employees will remote work on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4 due to a forecasted mandatory action day. State employees should contact their supervisor with any questions. #UtahRemoteWork#ProtectOurAir#ProtectTeamUtah#SolutionsforAirQuality#Travelwise#utpol— Remote Work Utah (@RemoteWorkUtah) August 2, 2021
Many state employees are slated to work remotely Wednesday and Thursday "due to a forecasted mandatory action day," according to Remote Work Utah, which is managed by the Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.
Current air quality reports for areas across the Wasatch Front, as well as stations in northern, eastern and southern Utah, can be found at the KSL Air Quality Network.