EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Hazy conditions continue for Western Wisconsin caused by smoke coming from wild fires in Western Canada.
“We have smoke from the Canadian wildfires kind of drifting through the region. It’s currently working it’s way through Minnesota. Kind of moving Northwest to Southeast,” said Craig Czarnecki. He is an air quality specialist with the Wisconsin DNR.
It has led to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to issue a code orange air quality advisory. The smoke lingered high early in the week not causing much concern. Now that is has lowered down enough, the advisory had been posted for sensitive groups.
“We’re talking about people with heart or lung disease or asthma. Older adults, children and those who are pregnant,” said Czarnecki.
He said it can also affect those working outside or spending a prolonged amount of time in general. Czarnecki said symptoms to look out for are shortness of breath and cough, which he said are signs to take a break.
“People in those groups, we ask that they consider making their outdoor activities a little shorter, less intense. And, reduce any heavy excursion,” said Czarnecki.
Skywarn Chief Meteorologist Darren Maier tells us how the smoke got so low after days of hazy dawns and sunsets.
“Instead of air rising and keeping it aloft in the atmosphere, the air starts to sink. A lot of times that will happen behind a cold front that passes on through. We call it subsidence, and the air behind that with high pressure is actually sinking,” said Maier. “It takes all of that ash and that smoke and brings it down to the surface and that’s why it becomes problematic for us.”
He said because of the timing, the conditions that led to the wildfires way out Northwest are something to keep an eye on.
“The last few years, these fires typically were occurring during the mid-summer and later. That was also in Canada. But this year, we’re already in May and we’re already seeing a significant amount of fires in Western Canada. That’s very concerning for this upcoming season,” said Maier.
The Wisconsin DNR air quality advisory for the Chippewa Valley is set to expire Friday at noon.
For the latest conditions on where you are, click here or here.
Here is the map outlining the advisories or warnings currently in effect.