Smoke from West Coast wildfires got even thicker over Utah on Friday. According to the National Weather Service, the smoke from fires in California, Oregon and Washington will reduce visibility on Friday in Utah.
According to IQAir.com, Salt Lake City has the worst air of any major city in the world on Friday.
“I don’t ever remember smoke from other states coming in so thick to Utah,” tweeted Gov. Spencer Cox, who advised that it’s “a good time to stay inside for those with sensitive health conditions.
The smoke is expected to remain in the region through the weekend, although there could be some clearing Friday night as winds pick up.
Particulates in the smoke put Salt Lake and Tooele Counties in the red zone by mid-morning Friday — the air is unhealthy for everyone, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Carbon, Davis, Utah, Weber and Box Elder Counties are in the yellow or moderate category.
[View more photos from Friday’s smoke in the Salt Lake Valley]
According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, the smoke can be a significant health concern, especially for people with underlying health conditions. The department issued eight tips, based on Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, to deal with the smoke:
1. Keep windows and doors closed • If you don’t have air conditioning, the EPA recommends using fans instead of opening windows — or go to a Salt Lake County Cool Zone.
2. Limit the use of swamp coolers • Evaporative coolers bring air from outside. Consider visiting a Cool Zone instead.
3. Close the fresh air intake vent on window AC units • If your AC unit has a setting to recirculate air, use that option. This also applies to central air systems.
4. Avoid adding to the poor air quality by burning • Recreational fires or smoker grills can make the air worse for you and your neighbors.
5. Consider buying an indoor air purifier • The EPA recommends using indoor air purifiers on the highest possible setting during fires. If you have a central air system with filtration, run the system’s fan on the highest possible setting.
6. Postpone house cleaning • Vacuuming can temporarily make your indoor air quality worse, by kicking up dust and small particles — unless your vacuum has HEPA filtration
7. Avoid being too active • Exercise increases the amount of air you take into your lungs.
8. Use N95 masks • If air quality is visibly poor, use an N95 or KN95 mask when outdoors.
Because of the smoke, temperatures in northern Utah are expected to be about 10 degrees cooler than normal, and near normal in southern Utah.
The forecast highs in Salt Lake City are 79 on Friday and 81 on Saturday. After hitting 90 on Sunday, temperatures are expected to return to the mid- to upper 80s Monday-Thursday, with overnight lows in the low to mid-60s. There’s no rain in the forecast.
Windy conditions are expected across parts of southern Utah on Friday, with gusts up to 45 mph in some areas. The forecast calls for smoke to blow into southwestern Utah on Friday night, and blow out on Saturday night.
In St. George, highs in the low to mid-100s are expected through Thursday, with overnight lows in the mid- to upper 70s. And there’s no rain in the forecast for southern Utah, either.