Smoke forecast to move back into northern Utah Saturday and Sunday

Aug 14, 2021, 9:12 AM
utah smoke forecast...
This map from AirNow.gov shows where air quality is currently deteriorating due to western wildfire smoke. A high pressure system will shift over Utah Saturday into Sunday, bringing more smoke back to the state from fires in the region. Source: https://fire.airnow.gov/

SALT LAKE CITY — The air quality forecast for Saturday includes a prediction no one wants to hear: wildfire smoke will move back into northern Utah from fires burning in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

Smoke returning to Utah in latest forecast

KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank says the smoke forecast shows unhealthy air returning to northern Utah starting later in the day on Saturday. A high pressure system doesn’t help. 

“The high pressure over Utah is going to nudge just enough to wrap around, once again, the smoke,” Eubank said. “Smoke infiltrates the entire state, and we’ll watch deteriorating air quality.” 

The Associated Press shared an interactive map showing where wildfires burn across the western United States. While the map only shows one wildfire currently burning in Utah, surrounding states to the west and north show up peppered with red dots on the map.

Forest Service in “crisis mode” 

Friday, the U.S. Forest Service told the AP it currently operates in “crisis mode,” with 21,000 federal firefighters working to contain fires across the region, roughly double the number who fought fires this same time a year ago. The agency says roughly 100 large fires burn across 14 states right now, and western Canada faces similar struggles.

According to the Forest Service, the Dixie Fire in Northern California, which began a month ago, has already burned an area larger than 800 square miles. It’s just 31% contained. 

For Utah, the smoke forecast to arrive this weekend should not stay too long, according to Eubank. 

“Good news: This isn’t going to last days and days and days. It’ll actually be here for two, and then it will move out, as we watch a surge of southern moisture move in next week that will bring us some monsoonal rains,” he said. 

Latest conditions, forecast online

You can check the latest conditions for Utah air quality as well as see the smoke and pollution forecast using our KSL Air Quality Network, here

Read more: 

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Smoke forecast to move back into northern Utah Saturday and Sunday