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The smoke Utahns are breathing from the California fires could make it all the way to New England

Posted at 9:32 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 23:32:37-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Wednesday was another day of smoke-filled skies along the Wasatch Front.

The smoke and all of its particulate matter is originating in California from fires like the Carr Fire that's burned nearly 175,000 acres in Shasta County and the Mendocino Complex Fire that's burned over 250,000 acres and destroyed 120 homes in Colusa, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

Meteorologist Charlotte Dewey with the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service can see the smoke on radar images.

"If you can envision the smoke from the fires in California being pulled up over into Idaho and then down into Utah, that's kind of the general pattern that we have," Dewey said.

The smoke is everywhere, but tends to settle in valleys, so it's more visible.

Bo Call tracks what's in the air for the Utah Division of Air Quality.

On Wednesday, his equipment was picking up definite signs of wildfires.

"This is a lot of semi-volatiles and organic carbon that's a result of combustion," Call said.

Call says particles from fire react differently depending on what was burning and how it burned.

"Really small particles can float around for a long time," he said. "Some of these particles, because they`re bigger, are going to settle out, they`ll impact something or settle out."

Current weather patterns are blowing smoke from the central Utah fires away from the state.

Call says smoke forecasters see the smoke and dust making it all the way across the country.

"We have smoke forecasts that show the smoke that's in the California wildfires, the west wildfires, as making it all the way to New England."