SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 17 (UPI) — Utah officials called an air pollution alert as smoke from wildfires in Nevada and Idaho fouled air in the Salt Lake City area for the second day Wednesday.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality issued a “yellow” air pollution alert for six counties, The Salt Lake City Tribune reported. Officials recommended the elderly, children and people with respiratory problems avoid outdoor exercise, and urged area residents to use public transportation or limit driving.
Fire officials said the Twin fire in the western desert of Utah was contained Wednesday at 350 acres. The fire started Monday with a lightning strike.
The West Sahara fire, about 100 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, had spread to almost 1,100 acres and was being allowed to burn itself out, fire officials said. Thirty firefighters were monitoring the fire.
To the south along the Utah-Arizona state line, another lightning-caused blaze, the Lava fire, was at about 630 acres. The fire, 60 miles southeast of St. George in high desert, was also being monitored.
“These ecosystems have been shaped by fire for centuries. Allowing fire to resume its natural role benefits these landscapes,” said Pam McAlpin, manager of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.