Fires in Canada, Minnesota bring haze to Chippewa Valley

Photo: Bill McKibben / Twitter / MGN
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Hundreds of miles away, here in the Chippewa Valley, locals have been seeing haze and smelling smoke from the Canadian wildfires. And the effects could continue as long as the flames do.

Late last week, you may have seen a smoky haze or smelled smoke throughout the Chippewa Valley. It’s hard to believe that was from the wildfires that continue to rage in Alberta, Canada more than 1,500 miles away; an occurrence that's rare, but not unheard of in this area.

"For those who can remember back into the '80s, back in '88, there was the Yellowstone fire which occasionally brought some smoke down here to this area as well,” Tim Deziel, Eau Claire Fire Department Battalion Chief, said.

As the dry, warm weather conditions persist, you can expect to feel the effects of fires throughout the region even more.

Yesterday the area was impacted by fires in Minnesota.

"We've got one closer to this area which is up in the Iron Range in Minnesota,” Deziel said. “Yesterday, that was bringing down a lot of smoke and haze into the Twin City Metro Area; that might be what we're actually looking at as far as the smoke and things that we're smelling today. It's a lot closer than the fire that we have going on up there in Alberta."

When smelling smoke within the Eau Claire city limits yesterday on his walk, Bill Rude of Eau Claire thought a building was on fire.

"I definitely smelled it and at the time, I guess I was kind of confused because I was walking downtown and I smelled this,” Rude said. “Normally, you wouldn't smell that downtown; you might smell it in a rural area."

The haze was thick, but some thought it was something other than smoke from a fire.

"I thought it was kind of interesting,” Jill Kulig of Altoona said. “It looked like it was almost foggy out, but in actual reality, we later found out it was all the smoke coming from up in Minnesota and Canada."

"The next morning, I got up and it looked like it was fog and I thought well, it dropped thirty degrees in temperature, maybe we picked up some fog,” Rob Harriss of Edina, Minnesota said. “No, it wasn't; it was haze from the fires."

Today, the skies were clear and blue, but that could change as the Canadian wildfire continues to burn and more fires pop up.

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