Smoke could clear out of southern Utah by Tuesday, but not up here

Wildfires in northern California and southern Oregon are primarily to blame for the poor air quality across the state.

(Noah Berger | AP) Skies in Utah are hazy because of smoke blowing in from wildfires in northern California and southern Oregon, like this one in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, July 8, 2021. The National Weather Service says the smoke is likely to remain at least through Tuesday.

If you thought the air was smoky in Utah over the past few days, well, the National Weather Service has some bad news for you.

It’s going to be worse Sunday and Monday, and still bad into Tuesday morning.

Wildfires in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington are all partly to blame for the present smoky conditions in Utah, though the National Weather Service said that the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon near the Fremont-Winema National Forest, and the Beckwourth Complex Fire (a combination of two lightning-caused fires in northern California) are the two primary contributors.

Utah’s air quality on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and heart disease, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Southern Utah could start to see a reprieve from the smokiness on Tuesday, according to the NWS, with moisture starting to increase early in the week.

Isolated storms are expected in southern Utah on Sunday and Monday and “widespread showers/storms are expected” on Tuesday and Wednesday, with “locally heavy rains” possible.

Such storms are also expected to curb the record heat in that part of the state. The NWS noted that unofficial data recorded Saturday showed St. George reaching a temperature of 117 degrees — which would tie the all-time record high for the state of Utah.

As for northern Utah, the NWS noted that its current projection models — which go out about 48 hours — don’t see it getting the same smoke relief that southern and central Utah are projected to receive.