Smoke plume from Canada settles over Valley - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Smoke plume from Canada settles over Valley

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Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:22 pm | Updated: 12:36 am, Sat Jun 18, 2011.

The haze and smoke in the air over the Valley today isn't from wildfires in Arizona.

We can blame our neighbors to the north. Nope, not Utah or Colorado. Go a bit further.

Much further.

A smoke plume from nearly 80 wildfires north of Edmonton, Alberta - that's in Canada, folks - drifted down the West Coast and "took a left turn at Los Angeles" right into the Valley, said Mark Shaffer, director of communications for the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The department is monitoring air quality, but so far the particulate matter 2.5 levels - which are caused by burns - are sticking to the moderate level. Should they rise, the department could issue a health watch or pollution advisory.

"Air quality is not great. We're trending upward and getting close to a health watch," Shaffer said. "We're trying to figure out what's going to happen in the next 24 hours."

Holly Ward, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, said people at risk for respiratory issues may want to avoid strenuous activity outdoors today.



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