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Smoky days continue in Northern California

Published On: Jul 31 2013 07:46:12 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 31 2013 08:00:00 PM CDT

The blue skies northern California normally sees have been noticeably absent the past few days. 

The nasty looking haze is being caused by wildfires, both of them about 200 miles away or more.

The Douglas Complex fire is in southern Oregon and the Aspen fire is in southern California, east of Fresno.

Those fires are producing so much smoke that the plume is holding together as winds carry it toward Redding.

Shasta County health officials said that, although it looks pretty nasty out there, the air quality on the surface is not as bad as one would think.

The air quality levels have been hanging right around the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' levels, meaning that the elderly and those with cardiovascular diseases may have difficulty.

“But if you can see that it's hazy and you can smell smoke, you have got to use common sense," said Dr. Andrew Dekert, a Shasta County Health Officer. “Make sure you have a supply of your medications, make sure you're using your medications.  If you've got asthma make sure you've got an asthma plan with your doctor and follow it.”

In addition, the slightly higher humidity levels can make things look worse as well. 

“Humidity can cause a haze in the air," said Ross Bell, Director of Shasta County Air Quality. "If you have smoke, it will impair visibility and then higher than normal humidity too can cause some visibility reductions."

That means that the both of them together can conspire to make things look much worse than they really are.

The good news is that the Northstate will likely see some thinning of the haze over the next few days as the fires are put out and the winds shift.

But the bad news is that due to the stagnant weather in the Central Valley, the Northstate probably will not see the crystal clear weather until October with the first rain storm.