Yellow air alerts forecast for several Utah counties

Posted at 8:18 AM, Nov 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-27 20:00:11-05

The hazy, polluted air across much of the state has prompted a red air alert in several counties Tuesday.

The Department of Environmental Quality forecasted a red air alert for Salt Lake, Davis and Weber Counties Tuesday morning. It was down graded to yellow at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Utah and Tooele Counties are both under a yellow air alert.

People living in the red counties are urged to limit outdoor activity, especially young children, the elderly and those with lung disease or asthma. Healthy adults should also cancel outdoor runs or hikes when the air quality index level is considered this unhealthy.

Air quality is measured on a scale of zero to 500. Anything in the zero to 50 range is considered normal. Above that, the Department of Environmental Quality warns that certain people need to take precautions.

For those in the yellow level areas, the pollutants in the air can create moderate health concerns for people with health problems or those sensitive to pollution like people with asthma or lung disease.

The bigger concern is in those counties under a red air alert, which is issued when the air quality index gets above 151.

According to Utah's Division of Air Quality, one of the best ways to help bring pollution levels down is to limit driving by carpooling or using public transportation, and by limiting outdoor burning.

"We can keep the numbers from continually creeping up which makes a significant impact to those who suffer from asthma, or some other lung or health issue," said Amanda Smith, executive director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Utah's Division of Air Quality plans to implement a new more detailed system of air alerts in the new future and to set new limits on outdoor burning.