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Smoke continues to linger in air, short relief headed to the region


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IDAHO FALLS — Smoke and the smell of wildfires continues to linger in eastern Idaho due to out-of-state fires.

“The smoke that we have is fairly widespread. There’s a lot of wildfires spread across the western states so it looks like the majority of the current smoke is probably from California and Nevada,” said Dawn Harmon, a meteorologist with the US National Weather Service in Pocatello.

Currently, an estimated 6,170 firefighters are battling the Dixie Fire in northern California, which is the largest of 100 large fires burning in 14 states. Dozens more are burning in western Canada. The Dixie Fire began a month ago and has destroyed more than 1,000 homes, businesses and other structures, much of it in the small town of Greenville in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

According to the National Weather Service in Pocatello, changes are on the way this week. Even though Monday will be hot and smoky, there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms returning to parts of the area this week. Meteorologists predict winds will pick up ahead of a cold front and there should be a 15-20 degree cool down with increased rain chances on Wednesday.

“We are expecting to see a system come through and change the flow a little bit,” Harmon said. “We will have a brief reprieve from the smoke probably late tomorrow through a portion of Wednesday.”

Smoke has recently driven air pollution levels to unhealthy or very unhealthy levels in portions of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and northern California. Currently, the air quality in Idaho Falls and Pocatello is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

For the latest forecast visit the weather page.

Click here to view an air quality map and see where current fires are happening across the region.