Smoke from large wildfires in California, Washington and Oregon is being carried by winds high above the ground to areas as far away as the Midwest.

The smoke, however, is not affecting air quality in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

"The smoke you see aloft is from fires out west caught or suspended mainly in upper levels," said Todd Shea, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis. The smoke "is in the overall weather pattern across the U.S. right now."

The haze is expected to continue until larger shifts in the weather pattern push it east and south of here, he said. That could happen during the latter half of the week.

(Image courtesy National Weather Service)
(Image courtesy National Weather Service)

Newsletter signup for email alerts

"It looks like the haze in the air might be worse Wednesday, but that band of suspended smoke will continue to linger across the northern tier of states," Shea said.

While the haze caused by Western wildfires can obscure the sun, it is still not a good idea to stare at the sun directly for any length of time, as dangerous rays can make their way through the smoke.

Nationally, 87 large wildfires have burned more than 4.7 million acres. The majority of the fire activity is in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the National Interagency Fire Center reported Tuesday.

At least 36 deaths have been linked to the fires in California, Oregon and Washington.

The sun begins to set in a hazy sky above Rochester on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, as seen from Quarry Hill Park. The haze is caused by smoke from wildfires in the west.  (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)
The sun begins to set in a hazy sky above Rochester on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, as seen from Quarry Hill Park. The haze is caused by smoke from wildfires in the west. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, 2020, over downtown Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, 2020, over downtown Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
The sun begins to set in a hazy sky above Rochester on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, as seen from Quarry Hill Park. The haze is caused by smoke from wildfires in the west.  (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)
The sun begins to set in a hazy sky above Rochester on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, as seen from Quarry Hill Park. The haze is caused by smoke from wildfires in the west. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, 2020, over downtown Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, 2020, over downtown Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
Smoke from western wildfires makes for a hazy sunset as John Marshall and Red Wing face off during a boys soccer game on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at John Marshall High School in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)