air quality

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Wildfire smoke is causing the air quality in the Northwoods to drop.

Most of the smoke is moving in from Canadian wildfires.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the smoke will be moving from the northeast to southwest during the day.

As of 1:30 p.m. the DNR’s Air Quality Index had Forest County in the Unhealthy Air Quality category. Vilas County dropped to Moderate.

Jared Kropidlowski

The skies over parts of Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula haven’t been quite as blue were used to lately.

Wildfire smoke trapped in the upper atmosphere has created a haze.

Trent Wickman is an air resource specialist for the National Forest Service. He’s based in Duluth and studies air quality in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

“The northern parts of these three states is generally some of the cleanest in the entire eastern United States,” said Wickman.

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Many visitors come to the Northwoods to breath the clean air. But an air quality expert says not that long ago clean air was not as plentiful.

May is Clean Air Month, held annually to recognize air quality trends in Wisconsin Amanda Jutrvonka with the DNR's Air Management Program says Wisconsin's air quality has improved much since the federal Clean Air Act...

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It smells like a campfire, but the smoky smell across the Northwoods has  international, national and meteorological reasons.

A large number of wildfires in Canada and Alaska have pumped massive amounts of smoke into the atmosphere. If you've watched the moon or sun set or rise, you've seen  a reddish haze and a cloudy atmosphere caused by the smoke.

While smoke from fires out west is not new in the Northwoods, residents in the Minocqua, Boulder Junction and Eagle River were particularly tweaked by the smoke which swooped down Monday night.

Northwoods Air Quality Among Best In Wisconsin

Apr 29, 2015
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The Northwoods gets high marks for air quality.

The American Lung Association is out with its annual "State of the Air" report. Vilas county received an "A" grade for a lack of polluting  ozone. The survey grades counties which have had their air monitored for at least three years.

The Lung Association also graded counties on their particle pollution. Twelve counties got "A" ratings, including Vilas and Forest counties.

Expera Works With DNR To Curb Sulfur Dioxide Emissions

Dec 15, 2014

Expera Specialty Solutions has until April to make a plan for reducing sulfur dioxide emissions at its Rhinelander paper mill. 

The EPA has flagged the Rhinelander area as a nonattainment area for sulfur dioxide, because the Expera facility is emitting more than the federal standard of 75 parts per billion. 

DNR Air program director Bart Sponseller says the agency is working with Expera to evaluate solutions. 

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A study conducted at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport found that levels of contaminants in the air did not exceed safe levels.

A complaint about air quality was presented to the Oneida county board several weeks ago by Oneida County UW-Extension leader Erica Brewster. The Extension offices are housed in the basement of the airport. An employee at the airport filed a complaint with the state about diesel fumes from planes near the terminal. A study was ordered and a demand was given to take corrective action.