BZ Weber Canyon Fire 2

Heavy smoke from a fire started Tuesday morning has caused officials to close all lanes of U.S. 89 near Weber Canyon, according to multiple agencies.

Smoke from a rapidly spreading wildfire in South Weber has caused an air quality advisory, warning people in Northern Utah to limit physical exertion and stay indoors.

Additionally, a Utah air quality expert is warning area residents to use common sense and to turn off swamp coolers where possible.

While a website and a phone app each report particulate levels in any given area, Bo Call manager of the air monitoring section for the Utah Division of Air Quality said monitors can misread the particulate levels depending on the direction the wind is blowing.

“One of the challenges with smoke, it’s like a camp fire,” Call said. “If you are up wind, you won’t get hit by it. As that wind shifts you will be in and out of it.”

• RELATED: Multiple homes evacuated near Weber Canyon, main roads closed

Particulate levels in several communities surrounding the South Weber fire jumped by unusual levels Tuesday morning, Call said.

He noted air quality issues throughout Northern Utah.

A webcam on the Weber page of air.utah.gov, Tuesday morning showed thick smoke in the Weber County air.

“In Box Elder County early this morning particulate levels jumped from 18 to 33 in an hour,” Call said. “That’s a steep jump.”

He said smoke blowing in from fires in Idaho also is behind the decrease in air quality.

• RELATED: Late summer heat wave fuels murky air in northern Utah

The South Weber fire came at a time when air quality already was bad thanks to hot temperatures in recent weeks.

To access the Utah air quality app, search for UtahAir.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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