*UPDATED* 8/15 Where's the Smoke Coming From?

The National Weather Service
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A cold front moved through northern portions earlier this morning and continues to progress southward into southern portions this afternoon.  It seems this will not be the "kicker" that finally clears out all the smoke.  The winds above 10,000 ft MSL (mean sea level) are westerly, which is perpendicular to the northerly winds behind the front.  This inversion is making it difficult to scour out the smoke in the central basins. Even though winds have been breezy today (gusts of 20-30 mph), the lower levels have been capped and not allowing for the atmosphere to properly mix.  Areas to the north (the Big Horn Basin and I-25 corridor from Buffalo to Casper) however, had much stronger winds and were not capped. The front was even able to push the smoke out of the Big Horn Basin and into the Wind River Basin.  This, in addition to the flare up of the Alpine Lake fire (located above 9,500 feet in the east slopes of the Wind River Mtns.) helped to keep smoke in the Wind River Basin.


Here is a satellite image from around 10am this morning.  Click on the picture for an enlarged image.


The National Weather Service in Riverton has been receiving many questions today regarding, "Where is the smoke coming from?" We wanted to take a moment to address these questions. Fires across the western United States are producing smoke which, due to a west-northwest wind, is being carried across Wyoming. Because there is not much surface wind across the area, this smoke has been able to settle across the basins, reducing visibility at times.

Below is a loop of the smoke being moved across the area. You'll note, as you watch the loop, how the smoke moves with what wind is in the area, and may be able to detect the fires producing (at least some of the) smoke involved. Additional fires across the state may be enhancing smoke presence, especially since most active fires are currently located across the western mountains.


Loop demonstrating smoke moving across the area. Static graphic displaying sources of the smoke, and general outline of smoke location.


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