Environmental expert talks about the haze the Valley has been experiencing

The air in Arizona has been hazy lately, and there are a few reasons why. Smoke from wildfires is one factor, and so is an unusually dry monsoon season.

It's quite unusual to see such significant wildfire activity this time of the year, and the likely reason is that it's been dry and hot, at record-breaking levels.

"Some of the mountains you can’t see and this is some of that smoke from local and regional wildfires that is moving into the region," said Matt Pace, a meteorologist at the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

As of Aug. 26, a high pollution advisory is in effect for Maricopa County as ozone levels remain unhealthy. Ground-level ozone is what we breathe, made up of air pollutants that include volatile organic compounds, VOC, and nitrogen oxides, NOX.

“VOCs can be generated from natural sources but also from human activity as well and then you have NOX. Now that normally comes out of the tailpipes of cars and those interact in the atmosphere can actually cause ozone to increase, especially during our long days," Pace explained.

The smoke from active wildfires is adding to the increased ozone levels.

It's recommended that those with respiratory issues such as asthma should stay indoors as much as possible. A high pollution advisory for Maricopa and Pinal counties remains in effect through Thursday, Aug. 27.

For more information, visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Wildfire Smoke Forecast https://www.azdeq.gov/node/7077