Sunday, August 16, 2015

Smoke from Distant Fires?

For a time yesterday I could smell smoke in the Salt Lake Valley and its certainly smoky this morning.

Where is the smoke coming from?  A possible local source is the Berry fire, which has burned 175 acres in Tooele County (fire 78 in the map below).  There was also a small fire in Parley's yesterday, but I doubt that's a contributor.  More remotely, there are a number of large incidents in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. 

Source: NIFC
This morning's sounding provides some hints at the smoke source, but not unambiguously.  We've had a weak trough passage that's resulted in a shallow layer of northwesterly flow at low levels.  Above this layer, however, the flow is southwesterly.  Thus, I'm inclined to go with the view that the trough passage has ushered in smoky air from either northern California or the Pac NW, but there is a possibility that smoke from the Berry fire is being carried into our area by the SW flow aloft.  

Source: SPC
I lack the time this morning to dig into this further, so I leave it to other meteorological sleuths to investigate and comment. 


  1. This map of the smoke was retweeted by the Utah wildfire feed this morning, seems to fit your theory:

    1. Pittsburg Lake is nestled below the south face of Devil's Castle and accessed from the main fork of American Fork Canyon. N 40° 33’31.64” W 111° 36' 56.59"