Skip to Content

Chemistry Professor: West Coast wildfire smoke not affecting Wisconsin air quality

Wildfire Smoke 3 09-15-2020

Eau Claire (WQOW) - You may have noticed some haze in the sky over the last couple days caused by wildfire smoke all the way from the West Coast.

Parts of California and Oregon's forests have been burning for weeks now, and the smoke has reached the Chippewa Valley.

Patricia Cleary, an associate professor of chemistry at UW-Eau Claire, said even though the wildfires are 2,000 miles away from us, the smoke has been carried by the jet stream, which is a narrow band of strong winds 30,000 to 40,000 feet above the ground.

Cleary said large amounts of particulate matter in the smoke cloud could impact people with asthma, COPD, or other lung or pulmonary issues, but she said this amount of haze should not affect our air quality.

"The thing to look for would be particulate matter or PM2.5 to increase, and that's being monitored all over the state. And there's no forecast right now in Wisconsin that's showing PM2.5 becoming a problem in the next couple days because we are down in this lower level of the atmosphere," Cleary said.

Cleary said she does not expect a dramatic shift in the air currents in the near future that could impact people's health.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

Skip to content