Haze Begins Settling As Utah’s Inversion Season Returns

Nov 1, 2019, 7:41 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Haze began settling over the Wasatch Front as Utahns awoke Friday morning and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has issued wood burning restrictions as inversion season returned to the Beehive State.

Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air, along with pollution, under a warm layer of air. Wood burning restrictions are now in effect and all Utahns can take actions to avoid breathing polluted air this winter. While many have already cut down on emissions, there’s always more that makes a difference.

“The clean air matters to me a lot,” said James Herpel who works at the capitol and takes FrontRunner and a bus from Roy every day.

His take on today’s pollution?

“It looks pretty thick out there,” he said.

Herpel said he takes public transit to cut down on emissions, save money and avoid traffic.

“When it’s all said and done, I get here in about the same amount of time if I were to drive,” he said.

Download the KSL Weather app to access the exclusive Air Quality Network Map and see where and when pollution is the worst, so you can decide when to be outside. The Utah Air app also provides air quality updates based on the state’s pollution monitors.

(Utah Department of Environmental Quality)

“For the next few days, we’re going to start seeing that inversion build. Maybe up to a week. Then we’ll see that clear out,” said Jared Mendenhall with the Utah DEQ.

Unfortunately, there’s no storm on the horizon to clear the air, so today’s pollution will linger for the next few days.

For better breathing, officials said don’t burn wood, don’t idle your car while sitting and take public transit or carpool because 40% of particulate pollution comes from our cars.

“Every little bit helps, you know,” Herpel said.

Officials also said to limit the number of times you start your car cold because that first belch from your tailpipe is the most concentrated pollution. That’s why linking errands in our cars makes a difference.

“On your way home from work, that’s when you stop at the grocery store, or you run your errands so that you just start the car once, warm it up once,” Mendenhall said.

Nov. 1 also marked the beginning of wood burning restrictions because this is when we start to see those inversions. The Utah Division of Air Quality measures pollution levels on a green, yellow and red action scale, with red air days being unhealthy for all of us. Today is a yellow action day, so wood burning is prohibited in Salt Lake County and voluntarily restricted along the rest of the Wasatch Front.

(Utah Department of Environmental Quality)

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Haze Begins Settling As Utah’s Inversion Season Returns