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Smoke still drifting into Utah from active western wildfires

Smoke from California and Oregon resulted in smoky air across northern Utah Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Smoke is expected back into Utah by Sunday, Aug, 22, 2021. Photo: Heather Kelly, KSL

SALT LAKE CITY — The wildfires in the west are still burning, and the smoke keeps drifting into the sky over Utah. 

More than two million acres have burned across California, Washington, and Oregon, and there’s not much containment on the larger fires. And depending on the temperature and the movement of the jet stream, smoke from those fires drifts sporadically into Utah.

“We had been seeing nothing but green dots, but now the yellow dots are taking over a little bit here, with a mix of good air and moderately unhealthy air,” said KSL Meteorologist Grant Weyman about the air quality map and sensors.

“Air pollution levels, unfortunately, are likely to get worse this afternoon and tonight as we get more of that smoke moving in,” he said.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 92 large wildfires or complexes have burned this summer in the west.

States currently experiencing large fires according to the NIFC include:
Montana (22)
Idaho (20)
Washington (17)
California (11)
Oregon (10)
Wyoming (3)
Alaska (2)
Minnesota (2)
Colorado (1)
Utah (1)

As more smoke rolls in Wednesday night, the air quality forecast is expected to change from yellow to orange on Thursday for Salt Lake County.

“It comes in waves, and the only way to get rid of it is to put out the fires in California, Washington and Oregon that are producing all of that smoke,” said KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank.