If you are among the Salt Lake Valley residents who looked east and wondered where the Wasatch Mountains went, or looked west trying to find the Oquirrh Mountains, keep squinting.
The Utah Division of Air Quality is forecasting increased particulate matter through Wednesday. The biggest culprit appears to be wildfire smoke, said Donna Kemp Spangler, spokesperson for Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
“I would treat it like an inversion," she said, "what we see during the wintertime where it’s difficult to see the mountains because we have all of this pollution that’s trapped.”
On Monday, the Division of Air Quality rated the air for the counties in northern Utah as having moderate particulate matter. That’s still bad enough that children, who inhale a lot of oxygen, and senior citizens, who may have weakened immune systems, might feel the impacts of having small particles trapped in their lungs.
Everyone else should be careful, too.
“You don’t want to spend a lot of time outside," Spangler said.
Wildfires — those burning in the state as well as those in Oregon and California billowing smoke toward Utah — keep contributing to the haze.
If this August inversion differs from those that arrive during winter, Spangler said, it may be because the pollution can still be seen in high elevations. While the pollution is acute in northern Utah’s valleys, over the weekend, motorists along the Mirror Lake Highway, for example, still saw a haze obscuring Uinta Mountain vistas.