Smoke From Minnesota Wildfire Reaches Chicago Area

By BJ Lutz and Lauren Jiggetts
|  Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011  |  Updated 6:55 AM CDT
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Throughout the morning and afternoon hours, officials in northern counties said they were bombarded with calls from residents concerned about the haze and odor.

Throughout the morning and afternoon hours, officials in northern counties said they were bombarded with calls from residents concerned about the haze and odor.

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If you smelled burning wood, plastic or leaves Tuesday, you're not alone.

Smoke from a large wildfire over Northeast Minnesota moved into northern Illinois, producing some hazy skies and bothering the olfactory systems of citizens throughout the area.

The smoke is expected to dissipate throughout the morning, though haze still covered part of the skyline.

In a special advisory Tuesday, the National Weather Service said the smoke, with its "distinct burning odor," would likely continue to spread to the southeast, reaching Northwest Indiana by the evening.

Officials in northern counties said they were bombarded with calls from residents concerned about the haze and odor. The Lake County Health Department even issued an air quality alert in the afternoon.

The fire, in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, has grown to more than 60,000 acres. It's believed the fire was started by a lightning strike on Aug. 18.

NOAA.gov: A six-hour loop of visible imagery from the GOES satellite.

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