Minnesota Fire Affecting Chicago Air

September 14, 2011

Have you noticed the haze of smoke that has blanketed northern Illinois?

It’s the result of a forest fire more than 500 miles away in Minnesota, and it might just force you to stay inside your Chicago real estate.

smoke around Chicago

Yuck. Look at the air that Chicagoans were breathing in on Tuesday.

Doctors are urging those with respiratory issues to limit outside activity over the next couple days. The smoke increases mold in the air — Tuesday’s mold count was the highest it has been all year — so those with allergies could be extra affected. The smoke can also cause burning eyes.

This new weather nuisance is from the Pagami Creek forest fire near Ely, Minnesota, which was sparked by a lightning strike on August 18. A cold front helped move the smoke into our area on north to northwest winds.

At times on Tuesday, visibility was dropped to two miles around Chicago, including at O’Hare Airport.

Tons of local residents called officials to report the smoke, and the city fire department responded to calls from Chicago residents who thought their buildings were on fire.

The National Weather Service said to “expect hazy skies and a distinct burning odor” on Wednesday and possibly Thursday:

“The Lake County Illinois Emergency Manager reports that smoke is prevalent enough to cause people to report difficulty breathing and burning of their eyes. Individuals with respiratory problems should use caution while smoke affects the area.”

Just don’t bother calling it in: Your Chicago real estate is not on fire.

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