Wildfire smoke ramps up air pollution in Utah

Published on September 08, 2017 at 11:03AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Wildfire smoke blanketing the West is leaving the skies hazy and ramping up soot levels in pollution-prone valleys of Utah.

Ashley Miller with the group Breathe Utah said Thursday that soccer practices are being canceled and people are suffering from itchy noses and runny eyes.

Utah air monitoring manager Bo Call says the pollution isn’t hitting the highest levels seen during winter days when murky air gets trapped in the state’s valleys, but the small particles now in the air are particularly visible because they reflect more light.

Call says ozone-pollution levels are also spiking in the afternoon, creating a double-whammy that’s particularly difficult for people with breathing problems.

Fires igniting through the region in recent days included a fast-moving blaze in Weber County that destroyed three homes before crews got the upper hand.