Smell something burning?
If so, the cause of the smoke and burning smell in northern Illinois is due to a huge forest fire in Minnesota. The smoke is getting into the main airstream and bringing the smoke into our area, according to a National Weather Service Special Weather Statement.
According to NWS, the smoke traveled more than 400 miles due to a combination of sinking air and northerly winds.
NWS warns the smoke will persist through the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Residents of DuPage County are reporting smoke in their neighborhoods.
The Lake County Illinois Emergency Manager reports that smoke is prevalent enough to cause people to experience difficulty breathing and burning eyes. People with respiratory problems should use caution.
How to protect yourself
The DuPage County Health Department said children and older adults are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. People who have heart and lung disease are also more at risk.
To reduce your risk from the smoke, check local air quality reports at http://www.airnow.gov. Keep windows and doors closed. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and filter clean on your air conditioner.
Avoid activities that increase air pollution like candles, fireplaces, gas stoves, vacuuming and smoking.
The Minnesota fire
The forest fire is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Journal Sentinel reported that the northwest winds sent ash and smoke into the area reducing visibility in Wisconsin.
The National Weather Service in Wisconsin said some people reported trouble breathing. The weather service predicted air quality in Wisconsin would remain unhealthy in some parts for days.
The fire started Aug. 18 with a lightning strike 20 miles from Ely then smoldered for over a week before flaring to life, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
The fire has spread to cover 60,000 acres in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Called the Pagami Creek Fire, it has spread so rapidly that residents of a small Minnesota town of Isabella were preparing to evacuate on Tuesday.