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Air quality concerns following Bountiful fire

Smoke from Bountiful fire (PHOTO: KSL Newsradio)

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — A fire that broke out Friday morning in Bountiful has already destroyed three homes, in addition to forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. But safety officials say concerns over air quality will linger into the weekend.

Smoke from the fire now has officials at state environmental departments concerned about air quality.

And they say that Bountiful residents aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about air quality.

“As the winds shift Friday, you’re going to see that smoke pushed up into Weber County and you’re also going to see some of that come back down into the Salt Lake Valley,” explains Jared Mendenhall, PIO with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Poor air quality isn’t necessarily something that can be seen. Rather it’s a matter of smelling trouble.

“A good rule of thumb as you’re out there because this smoke is going to be shifting around, is that if you can smell the smoke, then levels are probably getting to a point where you may want to stop doing any outdoor activities,” he says.

As of Friday afternoon, air quality conditions near the fire were mostly moderate, but risks may be present for those that have an existing heart or respiratory ailment.

Health conditions aside, Mendenhall says this probably isn’t a good weekend for anyone to participate in a physically demanding activity around the area.

“Skip mowing the lawn in the afternoon,” he explains. “If you can, just skip mowing the lawn entirely this weekend.”

While smoke may be most widely visible on Friday, conditions are actually expected to worsen over the weekend.

That’s because temperatures approaching 100-degrees will have a negative impact on ozone layers.

“We’re forecasting that the worst day this weekend is going to be Sunday,” explains Mendenhall.

Current air quality conditions can always be found here.