CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – As the sun rises in the coming days, the sky over Central Illinois and parts of the Wabash Valley may not look as blue as it normally does. Instead, it might look more milky, grayish white or hazy.

That’s because of wildfire smoke that is expected to slip into the region by early Wednesday morning. It’s expected to linger into Thursday.

It’s not certain how thick this smoke plume will be. Some of the top smoke model guidance hasn’t handled the current smoke plume well.

That being said, it is unlikely that much of the smoke will mix down to the surface in Central Illinois. Further to the north, some downward mixing in Minnesota prompted Air Quality Alerts to be issued, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Because of the smoke, the air quality is expected to reach orange air quality index (AQI) category in Northern Minnesota, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups, the Agency says.

In Illinois, it’s likely at times that the yellow AQI category may be reached. The AQI is a tiered system to help measure and communicate air quality with ozone and particle pollution, using 6 color categories.

GreenGood0 to 50Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
YellowModerate51 to 100Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
OrangeUnhealthy for sensitive groups101 to 150Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.
RedUnhealthy151 to 200Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
PurpleVery Unhealthy201 to 300Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.
MaroonHazardous301 and upHealth warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected.

With a yellow AQI, those sensitive to air quality issues should be aware and move indoors to avoid exposure, especially if symptoms are present.

The plume has been noted to be rather extensive over Minnesota and the upper Great Lakes region Tuesday.

This wildfire smoke has originated well away from here in the Canadian Rockies, where wildfires are ongoing, particularly in Alberta.

The Alberta government has declared a provincial state of emergency due to the extent of the fires. Numerous large wildfires have been reported in the country. As of Tuesday afternoon, the government was aware of 86 current active wildfires, several which were extensive.

Wildfire smoke can often be spotted due to the milky or hazy appearance in the sky overhead. But in the evenings sometimes it can help enhance sunset and sunrise colors, really amplifying the oranges and reds in the sky. But, if the smoke plume is too thick, it can wash out the colors in the sky into the dawn and dusk hours.