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Calif. wildfires again cause smoky Tucson skies

Smoke drifting from California wildfires is again obscuring the view across Southern Arizona, but the particles are high enough in the air to not affect air quality in Tucson, officials said.

Multiple enormous blazes across California are sending plumes of smoke reaching across the Western states.

"At this point, air quality is in the 'good' range because the smoke is staying elevated, but as the wind picks up, a mixing of the air may happen and increase the number of smoke particles at nose (and monitor) level," said Beth Gorman of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. "If that happens and you smell smoke where you live, we encourage those who are very sensitive to air pollution to stay inside or reduce excursion when outside."

The haze could last through Friday, Gorman said.

From Pima County:

Wildfire smoke can cause another air pollutant, ground-level ozone, to increase, in addition to particulate matter. Burning trees increases the amount of two ingredients the form ozone (volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen) and, under the right weather conditions, ozone levels will rise. This happened recently in Pima County when local fires and those from other states caused multiple exceedances of the EPA health standard. Ozone thrives in calm, stagnant conditions, so the winds that are occurring now may help reduce the accumulation of ozone in the air.

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Pima County webcam

The view from Downtown Tucson on Tuesday afternoon.