Smoke shrouds the Utah State Capitol and downtown skyline Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Smoke from wildfires out west have created hazy conditions throughout the region. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Smoke filled the skies of Utah Friday as a cold front swept wildfire smoke into the state.
The front moving in from the west picked up smoke from fires in California and Oregon, including the growing Dixie Fire that leveled a small California town earlier this week, National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Kruse told KSL.com.
The level of smoke is expected to linger in Utah through at least Saturday and, maybe into Sunday,
The air quality got so bad that the site WorldIQ Air, which tracks air quality across dozens of cities globally, ranked Utah’s capitol among the worst in the world.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality forecast air quality to reach levels unhealthy for all groups of people in Salt Lake, Davis, Tooele and Utah counties.
Division of Air Quality recommended everyone avoid outdoor activity as much as possible and limit driving. Those in sensitive populations were recommended to be even more careful. Several schools canceled outdoor activities.
Poor air quality is linked to spikes in multiple health issues, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, heart attacks and stroke. It also increases the risk of viral infections, such as COVID-19, said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonary physician at Intermountain Healthcare.