Hazy, smoky skies return to Utah — but for how long?

Aug 30, 2023, 3:46 PM | Updated: 3:49 pm

Smoke from fires in the Pacific Northwest create haze at Utah State University....

Hazy skies captured by Utah State University’s weather camera hinder mountain views Wednesday morning. Smoke from the Pacific Northwest reached Utah on Wednesday, worsening air quality for Utah’s northern half. (Utah State University)

(Utah State University)

SALT LAKE CITY — Yes, wildfire smoke and hazy skies are back in Utah.

A cold front pushed through Utah on Tuesday night, bringing winds from the Pacific Northwest into Utah on Wednesday, KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson explains.

“There are wildfires up in the Pacific Northwest, so, unfortunately, that smoke has moved into Utah,” he said.

The National Weather Service posted a simulation model to social media showing how light to nearly moderate smoke levels were projected to filter throughout parts of the state Wednesday.


The heaviest levels are reported in northern Utah, Wasatch Front, and West Desert areas; however, it may move into parts of central Utah as the concentration dissipates a little.

Johnson said the hazy skies will linger into Thursday. Air quality for Salt Lake and Davis counties are forecast to reach “orange” levels Wednesday and Thursday, which is when particulate matter counts are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the Utah Division of Air Quality.

Its forecast lists “moderate” air quality levels across Box Elder, Cache, Tooele, Utah, and Weber counties over the two-day span, while Duchesne and Uintah counties are listed as having “moderate” air quality levels on Wednesday but healthier levels on Thursday.


However, the smoke also won’t last terribly long because another change in weather patterns is on the horizon. As another low-pressure system moves into the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, the winds in Utah will gradually shift from the northwest to the south, stopping the smoky inflow.

More widespread precipitation is expected across Utah beginning on Friday. Johnson says the low-pressure system will continue to move south across the Pacific Coast, helping to “lift our atmosphere” by pushing out a high-pressure system that has blocked monsoonal storms from reaching the state over the past few days.

Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online, at the KSL Weather Center.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Air Quality

Researchers gathered in a Weber State University room for a Air Quality Summit....

Mike Anderson

Air Quality Summit puts focus on Utah air pollution and solutions

Many of the researchers who study Utah's air pollution problems are sharing what they've found while working to find solutions during Thursday's Air Quality Summit.

17 days ago

An electric UTA bus charges in Salt Lake City, Utah. (KSL TV)...

Ken Fall

EXHAUSTED: Electric transit buses in Utah and the hope for a carbon neutral future

Does the UTA plan for all-electric buses make for dramatic air pollution reductions along the Wasatch Front?

2 months ago

green mountains send up smoke to cover the sky...

Mike Anderson

New $850,000 grant to help Utah monitor wildfire smoke and protect students

We've all see it, the time in late summer and early fall when Utah skies become gray with wildfire smoke. Sometimes it's from other states, sometimes it's even from Canada.

2 months ago

Multiple bills in the Utah Legislature aim to target air quality and offer tax breaks for switching...

Lindsay Aerts

Here’s what the Utah Legislature is doing to address air quality

Multiple bills in the Utah Legislature aim to target air quality and offer tax breaks for switching to electric lawn equipment.

2 months ago

Jennifer Love...

Katija Stjepovic

Rebates make clean air upgrades cheaper for Utahns

It's no secret that Utahns are exhausted by our bad air quality but there are ways you can help reduce emissions from your home.

2 months ago

KSL TV investigated how other cities are managing their air quality. Pictured here is maintenance w...

Deanie Wimmer

Exhausted by bad air: Is smog-eating tech something Utah should consider?

What if Salt Lake could address our pollution problem with technology that “eats” the smog? Several U.S. cities and countries are doing just that with surfaces treated with materials that “neutralize” smog. Is it a solution Utah should consider?

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Hazy, smoky skies return to Utah — but for how long?