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Bad air quality expected over weekend

Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 20:59:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is urging Utahns to keep an eye on the air quality forecast in the coming days as wildfires in surrounding states continue to send smoke over the Beehive State.

You can already see it, a hazy film across the Salt Lake Valley.

According to Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), air quality is lingering in the moderate ‘orange’ range for much of the state, but is expected to get worse in the coming days.

“A great deal of smoke is going to start moving into the Wasatch front,” said Utah DEQ spokesman Jared Mendenhall. “It’s not the weekend to go out and run a marathon.”

Mendenhall said the state is being hit with an air-quality ‘double punch.’

The first, brought about by Utah’s typical summertime pollutant, Ozone. The second, an early visit from the state’s wintertime pollutant, PM 2.5 – coming in from wildfires in surrounding states.

“These microscopic particles, they lodge deep into your lungs, they can cause inflammation, they can cause trouble breathing,” said Mendenhall.

Tiny, but dangerous to vulnerable groups like those with Asthma, COPD, or other preexisting conditions.

Mendenhall recommends those in at-risk groups stay inside this weekend with windows and doors shut, limit outside time, and if you have to drive circulate the A/C in your car.

For everyone else, DEQ said cutting back on emissions is crucial.

“See if you can limit how often you use the car,” Mendenhall said. “Maybe skip mowing the lawn this weekend."

“[Pollutants] threaten our health and [pollutants] threaten our neighbor’s health, so this is something we can do,” he continued.”

The latest air quality forecast can be found on the Utah DEQ website.