Facebook Twitter

Smog prompts warnings

SHARE Smog prompts warnings

Wildfires and 100-degree temperatures combined to produce a third consecutive day of high pollution across the Wasatch Front.

Wasatch Front residents should expect the smog to hang around through midweek.

"Those especially susceptible to elevated levels of ozone and other pollution should be particularly careful not to exercise outdoors," said Ursula Kramer, director of the state Division of Air Quality.

"Ozone up high is good, ozone down low is bad. Right now, the ozone is down low and it is affecting breathing," Kramer said Monday.

State officials extended their "no drive day" request through Tuesday in the hope that a reduction in car exhaust would diminish the ozone-level danger. Commuters in Salt Lake and Davis counties were asked to take public transit.

Since Friday, 10 of the 11 air quality monitoring stations — in Spanish Fork, Provo, Highland, Herriman, Cottonwood, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Great Salt Lake Marina, Washington Terrace and North Ogden — recorded at least one excessive ozone reading.

Only the monitoring box in Logan returned continuous safe air measurements.

"This heat's got everybody a little scared," said Burt Clark, a horse-drawn carriage driver who was leaning under a tree outside Temple Square. After four hours Monday, Clark had yet to carry a single passenger.

July ended as the fourth hottest on record. In Salt Lake City, only three days were under 90 degrees.

Monday's high, 102, tied a record for July 31. Record temperatures for July 31 were recorded at Brigham City, 101; Brigham Young University, 103; Tooele, 106; and Bear Lake, 95. Spanish Fork and Springville tied their records for the day with readings of 101.

Excessive ground-level ozone is troublesome for asthma and bronchitis sufferers. The colorless, odorless gas can damage the lungs and trigger asthma attacks.

"There's nothing right now about this air quality that's good for folks with destructive lung diseases," said Robert Crapo, medical director of the pulmonary laboratory at the University of Utah School of Medicine. "Ozone levels and particulate matters can exacerbate a number of destructive lung diseases."

At Hogle Zoo, the animals dined on frozen fish, fruits and meats to help combat the heat.

"All of the animals have access to shaded areas and buildings," said Doug Tompkinson, animal care supervisor. "The primate and feline areas have misting systems, which are essentially sprinkling systems that spray down on the animals, where they can go for relief."

Elephants and bears are given ice blocks to play with and the staff hoses down the cement paddocks every few hours. The rhino seems to be spending a lot of time in the mud wallow. The Great Ape building has a wading pool as well as air conditioned accommodations.